Brian & Gabe LIVE #21 - Part 3: We discuss OpenCompute and Windows 8 user accounts with Harry Labana

Listen to the whole episode with Harry Labana here!


Brian: Let’s go and this is from comments, yes, I do like bacon.  So, this is live.  Although I know that you said that ten minutes ago.  Harry, do you think, and the reason I ask you is we only have you today and we talk about this almost every week I feel like, but Microsoft, a lot of the stuff that the OnLive conversation really illustrates is that Microsoft does limit VDI in the use cases because they’ve got SPLA for RDS but not for Windows 7, and they have all the stuff around – it’s very hard.  What do you think Microsoft’s deal is that makes them not want to make it easy for everyone to use Windows 7 via VDI?

Harry: Again, I don’t have an inside track to Microsoft, but I’ll give you my personal view.  My personal view on this is that some of it is that how’s the argument being presented back to Microsoft?  I think a lot of the argument for VDI, the embellishment from the industry is that it saves you money.  If I was Microsoft and you said hey you want to save money?  I would say oh, and then use either have a – 

Brian: Use terminal server.

Harry: Yes, use terminal server or have a better-managed PC.  I think the conversation really has to be had with Microsoft is look; this is all about a move to central compute.  Whether you want to do your ASIO thing, is the Windows 9 theme all a move to ASIO?  How does the Windows client business fit into that?  And does it.  Quite frankly to be fair to Microsoft, it’s there business and if they’re choosing with – I was watching TV last night and there’s all these really cool ultra-books, almost like MacBook Air like Windows machines, they’re kind of cool machines.  So, why not have both?  I  think their focus frankly is on Windows 8 being focused on the client side and I think their view is have a better managed desktop if you want cheaper, and I don’t think anyone has had the right conversation with them yet.  

Gabe: There’s a lot of people that have been saying Windows 8, there’s going to be some changes there.  There’s a comment in the chat room about Windows 8 having a VDI broker, the Windows 8 server.  Then also maybe Microsoft is waiting for Windows 8 for some sort of major licensing change or something like that.  I personally don’t think that that’s a catalyst for anything.  I think what you just said is correct.  I think Windows 8 is about the user.  Do you see anything to those rumors of licensing changes?

Harry: I personally don’t see any reason for them to do that yet.  Why do they care about that?

Brian: I agree that’s a good question to ask.  Incidentally, what they’re saying in the chat room about Windows 8 having a VDI broker, Windows 2008 has a VDI broker now.  What’s different?  

Gabe: But that’s the RDS broker.  This is specifically – but remember how convoluted that thing is?

Brian: Yes, but terminal server by itself has been convoluted since 1998.

Gabe: Well, with that statement, the terminal server broker and using that for VDI desktops and so this is more focused on VDI desktops.  It’s not nearly as complex.  The idea is it’s not nearly as complex.  Remember, that thing was really, really shitty.  But it was just like hey, we have this thing that brokers thing and we can virtualize desktops, let’s see if we can shoehorn these things in to work with each other.  Sure enough, if you get a big enough hammer, you can – 


Brian: Did you just describe desktops?

Gabe: Well, yes, but if you get a big enough hammer, that square peg will fit in that round hole.  That’s what the current broker solution is like, so I think this is going to be more tailor made.  That said, I don’t think it will have any effect on anything.  It’s a broker.  Come on.  In all of the VDI space, a broker is a broker.  Who gives a shit?  If it wasn’t good enough when you were hell-bent on just using Microsoft technology, go get Leo Stream or something.  Come on.

Brian: Incidentally, I talked to Leo Stream yesterday and they – it’s been like a year since I talked to them, and I was pretty impressed.  They have a DAZ offering now also except theirs is based on AWS, so they took their connection broker and they’re still plugging away and doing all these, I don’t want to say long tail, but people are using them in combination with ZEN desktop and View where there’s some security integration or this component or this type of redirection or something like that.  They’re doing well as an add-on to add more capabilities to these two platforms.  But they took their broker and stripped out a lot of that enterprise specific stuff and built a cloud scalable broker, and now they’re selling DAZ desktops based on AWS which is kind of cool for them because they don’t have to have an infrastructure, so in that sense, I don’t know if that’s a competitor.

Gabe: I think Jack wrote about that.  

Jack: Yes, I did.

Brian: Good for you.  I definitely read that.

Gabe: Welcome to five months ago.  I don’t know when it was.  

Brian: For the HTML5 interface for HTML5 client, they’re using Aerocom’s access now which is another thing, I feel like Aerocom, both Aerocom and Leo Stream having second tier capabilities and lower pricing, that’s a hard thing to compete in Citrix and VM ware and all these folks.  I like that both Aerostream and Aerocom are picking out specific things that Aerocom’s been very successful with their HTML5 clients and they’ve licensed it to VM Ware, they’ve licensed it to – I take it back.  The integrated with VM Ware and they’ve licensed VM Ware specifications so they can make a version for VM Ware View, they’ve licensed it to Quest, they’ve licensed it to Leo Stream, so I feel like they’re doing pretty well there.  I like that Leo Stream is also finding a little niche that can enable them to be successful.

Harry: And how do you think they fair in the world of VDI in a box?

Brian: Leo Stream?

Harry: Yes, all those guys with Dell doing the virtual appliance with VDI in a box, and you’ve got all of the systems integrator motion; do you think they get broader traction?

Brian: That’s a good question.  Historically, I’ve always felt that if you have a sort of smaller VDI environment, you shouldn’t even try and do it yourself because you can’t do it more cheaply than someone like Desktone.  Where that could potentially change is these integrators – people like Dell who can offer you literally in a box, not the Citrix VDI in a box products, but a pod you can drop in and it says this gives me x desktops for x dollars and does everything that they need.

Harry: I don’t know if you’re familiar with Open Compute, the Open Compute project.  

Brian: I’m not.  

Harry: I think that could have a lot of relevance potentially for VDI.  What that is, it’s a datacenter open source project from Facebook where they’re basically saying lets open source hardware, so they’ve got commodity chassis designs, chassis power supplies.  What’s missing there is a storage specification.  I think what’s going to be interesting is if they announce storage in May at San Antonio, at their next conference.

Brian: Who’s that?  Facebook’s conference?  

Harry: It’s open.  They started and I think Intel’s on the board and various other people.  I think it’s all about commoditization of hardware.  I really think that that could help solve a lot of this VDI cost.  We talked earlier about VDI’s expensive, but at the end of the day, it’s expensive because a lot of the datacenter components are expensive, and if we can solve those with more open source hardware, I think that’s a really interesting area to watch.

Brian: That would be sweet.  And Thomas, we’ll get to your question in a minute.  This kind of goes back to a session of Chetan Vankatesh did at BriForum 2010 where he was talking about more VDI, more desktops moving to VDI because Moore’s law applies to a datacenter, but Moore’s law doesn’t really apply to physical desktop hardware.  Sure, it does, but what do you get from that?  So, today’s $700.00 PC is twice as fast as it was two years ago, but so what, Windows is still Windows, it still has to managed the same way, etc.  Even we can look at since you gave that session two years ago, probably back then we were 60 VDI sessions per host, and now we’re like 150 per server and this is going up and up.  Now, we’re seeing – we’ll got single instance block level storage which is starting to emerge and these ways of doing all these kinds of things, I guess where we actually can get to the point where we have some more certainty around our ability to deliver desktops from the datacenter.  

I guess that goes back to if I’ve got Windows applications, and I need to provide that secure environment for my users to run, if I can do it in the datacenter cheap enough, and that works for a lot of my use cases, then why not.  

Harry: I agree.

Brian: So, Thomas asks a couple of questions.  This cloud powered roaming, it’s available with ICloud, Windows 8 will serve the same customer.  The comments I’m looking for because Microsoft talked about Windows 8, some profile.

Gabe: User profile.  The user account roaming.

Brian: Yes.  What’s the story with that?  Isn’t that – it felt that that was like the logging consultants, Flex Profiles, it looks almost like a Flex Profile.

Harry: I do know about it.  I’m still under disclosure from Microsoft, but I think in general, I don’t think it’s inconceivable if you just look out there.  My Live ID, and you look at my ICloud ID, I think all of these companies are trying to tie you into various services they offer.  

Brian: We’re talking about two different things then.

Gabe: And that’s what Simon Townsend commented, that’s the one that I think you were reading.  This is serving the same customer as ICloud.

Brian: I got you.  Those letters are really little on the screen from where I’m sitting.  Anyway, there’s two things.  #1) I think Microsoft is making an XML, I’m not under NDA with them, I should say I did not learn this under NDA either, but you can read about it out there that there’s an XML, I think it’s called Park Slope or something like that, Park something, where there’s an XML import export specification for Profile settings.

Harry: I think, again, when it comes to things like that, I think ultimately, I think Microsoft does there in the platform is good because what they’re really saying is that this other, this better level of management in the platform is a good thing.  But I think if you’re going to be in the business of exporting XML files and then extending that with Powershell and other things, I think that’s find for a type of use case, but when you want to really get to enterprise scale, you want to talk about more control, you want to do more triggers, conditions and actions.  It’s a lot more advanced.  Who I think, if they did something like that, will it potentially affect, it commoditizes a lot of the profile-only vendors.  I think they’re the guys who should be sweating on the issues right now.  


View All Videos

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.