Finding VDI needles in the CES haystack

This year, as in a few past years, I ventured down to Las Vegas for the yearly International Consumer Electronics Show. While CES never has a plethora of VDI-related content the likes of BriForum or Synergy or VMworld, there's usually at least a few juicy morsels.

Let's preemptively get a few things out of the way: this is not an I.T. show, but it is a show that I.T. should pay attention to. Every year it becomes clearer and clearer that not only is B.Y.O.D. here, but that it has infiltrated pretty much every facet of daily work life to the point most of the technologies coming out to address enterprise needs are really there to address the needs of users bringing in their 50 gadgets from home. I could have spent the week chatting up every phone and laptop manufacturer on their ability to support security measures but the simple truth is no one was on hand. Samsung didn't have a single person in their several-acre booth to discuss Knox or Tizen or smart monitor clients. Intel could only offer thoughts on NUCs, not thin clients. Microsoft didn't bother with a booth. Blackberry is out of the picture. NVIDIA's GRID doesn't play to this crowd. HP gave me a blank stare and pushed a laptop in my direction. Yet, all these companies were here with products that will inevitably end up coming from the home to the office and have to play nice with what's in place.

But there were a few interesting needles in the haystack beyond B.Y.O.D., so let's see what was there.



ViewSonic isn't new to the VDI space, but they are quietly making some sizable pushes to not only cover the endpoint, but everything in-between. I sat down with Mike Holstein, the Vice President of Business Development and he gave me run down of their latest products as well as a glimpse at the road-map moving forward. He also hinted that there's something big coming up.



For those familiar with them, QNAP is most synonymous with storage, notably NAS storage appliances. What they brought to CES actually had me most excited - a NAS appliance geared towards small - medium range businesses that has the ability to not only offer storage but also package and serve Linux applications. And the best part is the box is standalone - complete with a video output and USB for keyboard/mouse input. The appliance also has built-in support for Citrix, VMware and Microsoft snapshot storage and a hypervisor for managing multiple virtual machines.



As many readers here know, Jack covers the mobile space from end to end and he turned me on to checking out BlueStacks. While BlueStacks often comes across to consumers as a service to get Android games running on a TV, they began as a company focused on allowing developers to emulate and test Android software in the desktop environment. 

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Great stuff! I love CES and it's always been a place where companies test true b-to-b plays by taking them into the consumer space -- or at least portions of them.

There's been a lot of talk about using VDI on older, obsolete devices, BTW. What's your take?


Karen J. Bannan, commenting on behalf of IDG and VMware.