VDI and the 'Personal Cloud'

Arthur Cole
Slide Show

When Is It Right for a Business to Consider Desktop Virtualization?

Tips for determining whether desktop virtualization is right for your business.

Arthur Cole spoke with Dan O'Farrell, senior director of product marketing, Wyse Technology.<br />


Will the cloud do for desktop virtualization what it did for server, storage and networking? Probably that, and more. In fact, pushing VDI onto the cloud resolves one of its major sticking points: high upfront costs. It also has the advantage of separating the desktop image from physical hardware, making it easier to fold new mobile client technologies into the enterprise and create the "personal cloud," according to Wyse Technology's Dan O'Farrell.

Cole: It seems that desktop virtualization still has a lot of potential even though many enterprises seem loathe to commit themselves in a big way. How does the cloud change the cost/benefit ratio of VDI?
O'Farrell: We're noticing more and more enterprises moving to VDI once they really understand the ongoing cost benefit of VDI compared with the tedious and costly process of installing, provisioning, operating, updating, patching, managing and maintaining PCs. The reason some enterprises may appear hesitant to move to VDI is that there is some upfront capital investment required to set up the virtual machines and virtual desktops. However, that initial investment pales in comparison to the overall ongoing cost savings. So we think some of this hesitancy is a marketing problem, where those of us who play a key role in the VDI ecosystem may not be doing a good enough job of clearly communicating the cost benefit of VDI and the fact that migrating from PCs to virtual desktops is not difficult or expensive.

The cloud takes the cost/benefit of VDI to yet another level, as it applies potentially huge economies of scale to make VDI even easier to implement, more secure, and more ubiquitous since cloud-based VDI services are available for anyone within an organization regardless of their location. As large, secure, and fault-tolerant cloud data centers grow, the cost of adding more VMs and virtual desktops will continually drop on a per-user basis, making VDI and cloud-based services even easier to procure and use.

Again, at Wyse we are seeing many enterprises implement their own private VDI clouds today. As subscription-based cloud VDI services become more prominent over time, we strongly suspect that any of the currently perceived impediments toward moving to VDI will all but disappear. That's the beauty of the cloud: It makes secure, innovative services more readily available to all, at lower cost.

Cole: Apps like the PocketCloud Explore and PocketCloud Remote Desktop provide management and collaboration tools for Android and iOS clients. Is the cloud, then, becoming a bridge between traditional desktop infrastructure and the new mobile platforms?
O'Farrell: While many Web service providers that offer capabilities like sync, sharing, and backup treat the public cloud as a bridge, we consider it just another component of one's personal cloud in which users can access all of their content and applications from their mobile devices, or any Internet-connected computer. PocketCloud will enable users to create a personal cloud with any mix of their devices, such as desktops/laptops, tablets, smartphones and eventually even their cars, homes and appliances, along with Web services like cloud storage, sharing, social media, collaboration, publishing, applications and any others that contain information or services that the user owns or has rights to access.

Cole: So the personal cloud essentially separates the user experience from underlying infrastructure?
O'Farrell: It will allow the user to be less concerned about where the content or applications are that they need at the moment, from wherever they are, and just focus on searching, browsing, organizing, viewing/editing, and sharing - ultimately becoming information-centric rather than device-centric. It will also allow users to keep their content in the most appropriate location, such as sensitive financial files on a locked-down home computer, yet still accessible remotely. Our vision of the personal cloud also reduces the need for services that continually sync all devices and tease with small amounts of free online space, but cost dearly when the volume gets anywhere near what the typical user has in documents, videos, music and photos.

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