I like Windows along with XenDesktop and VMware View. On the surface, they are all fine products. But it is official; I’m so over the concept of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) because I’m so over Windows. Maybe it is the fact that I’ve been using a Mac for the past several months, and I no longer rely on Windows for my day-to-day home computing. Or maybe it’s because I’m an Office 365 user and Chromebooks are starting to make sense to me now. Or maybe it is because web apps are finally good enough.
I know Windows or VDI for that matter will not disappear from the enterprise anytime soon because of reliance on legacy applications. However, I’m no longer investing a great deal of time in keeping up to speed with VDI technologies. I just don’t see it as the gateway to delivering information technology in the enterprise. Sure, just as we needed terminal emulation software for years after the height of the mainframe era, we will still need VDI as a portal to legacy Windows applications. But, would you want to stake your career on providing a portal to legacy technology? If so, I have some Certified Novell Engineer 5 course work I can sell to you at a steal.
VDI has always been the solution looking for a problem. It has been looked at as a technology that would reduce costs via dumb terminals. In theory, companies only need to refresh backend servers instead of undergoing an expensive and complex desktop refresh project. Then the industry pushed it as the [bring your own device] BYOD solution for enterprises looking to save money on end user hardware. Presenting Windows applications on a mobile device is the latest use case. Guess what? People don’t buy Microsoft Surface because touch doesn’t work well with legacy Windows apps so, why would enterprise users want to use a Microsoft Access database on an iPad?
End users want a native experience on the platforms they have in their hands at the moment. Today this means mobile apps or mobile web apps. When I’m having conversations with friends looking to deploy new infrastructures of discussing new service delivery options, I don’t include VDI as part of the conversation. I begin the conversation with mobile and web applications. Sure, I’d rather use Outlook than Gmail, but I also want to pick up any device I have at my disposal and consume my data and services. Gmail gives me good enough functionality, so I moved away from the Outlook fat client as my everyday mail client. VDI just doesn’t cut it for me, and as the reliance on Windows grows weaker and weaker, VDI becomes less appealing.
So, let us have one last one for VDI and wish it a nice slow death alongside with Windows.