The problem with virtual desktop infrastructure(VDI) today essentially comes down to one of extremism.
As VDI exists in its most widely used incarnation, the basic idea is to run the desktop environment as an image running on top of a virtual server. That may seem simple enough, but it introduces a lot of latency issues that invariably lead customers down the path of new IT infrastructure upgrades at a time when the capital budgets needed to fund those kinds of investments are scarce.
Given those costs, most IT organizations appear to be heading down a piecemeal upgrade to the Windows client environment in the form of Windows 7.
But what if there was a middle ground between those two extremes that allowed IT organizations to more effectively embrace VDI? That's the thinking at MokaFive, which has been championing an alternative approach to VDI in the enterprise world for the past year.
According to Purnima Padmanabhan, MokaFive vice president of products and marketing, the core concept behind VDI is sound in that it centralizes the management of desktop PCs. Where it goes wrong is that implementations such as the one being promoted by VMware require all user data to be executed and managed on the server. In the case of MokaFive, a compromise is created by allowing all the user data to be executed on a local client, while still harnessing the administrative benefits of a centralized virtual server.
There are a lot of IT organizations out there with pilot VDI projects that are in limbo because of cost and performance issues. Unless they take a new approach to the problem, the probability that VDI is going to see mainstream adoption in 2011 is fairly remote.
There are, of course, other approaches to the VDI problem that involve moving the entire process to new infrastructure in the cloud. But for a lot of companies, new infrastructure either in the cloud or on premise is not an option. And yet, they would still like to lower the overall cost of their desktop environment.
Given these issues, it would seem that the time has come to look into some alternative approaches because when it comes to VDI, the big vendors as of yet don't seem to have solved the problem.