Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Java Authors: Elizabeth White, Dan Ristic, Roger Strukhoff, Carmen Gonzalez, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: Virtualization, Java, Microservices Journal, Open Source, Web 2.0, Cloud Expo

Virtualization: Article

Why VDI? And Why Now?

VDI has reached the tipping point

For most CIOs and IT managers, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) isn't a new concept. In fact, many of them have dismissed it more than once amid concerns such as ROI, security and user experience.

But it's time to take a fresh look at VDI because a slew of new technologies have eliminated its biggest drawbacks - real and perceived. As a result, VDI - also known as end-user computing and desktop as a service - is now capable of addressing three of enterprise IT's biggest costs and headaches:

  • Management scalability: Today, as the number of desktops in an organization grows, so does the amount of staff and other resources required to manage them. VDI breaks that link and makes managing 1,000 desktops as easy as managing 10. This directly benefits the enterprise's bottom line and competitive position because, for example, IT staff is now freed to focus on revenue-generating tasks.
  • Greater control over security: With VDI, data resides entirely in a secure cloud rather than on a laptop's or desktop's hard drive. That architecture eliminates problems such as a device's theft or loss creating a security breach - and the embarrassment and regulatory scrutiny that comes with it. In fact, that's why, for example, some police departments have built their own data centers to implement VDI.

A cloud-based VDI service enables organizations to achieve the same benefit but without the expense of building and operating a data center. In the process, VDI enhances an organization's ability to comply with laws such as HIPAA and Sarbanes-Oxley, as well as industry-specific best practices.

  • Minimize Mobile's Complexity. Although the D in VDI stands for desktop, the architecture can be applied to tablets and smartphones too, eliminating the need for - and expense of - mobile device management (MDM) tools. These benefits extend to employee-provided smartphones and tablets, giving organizations an effective way to minimize the security risks that are a byproduct of a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy.

VDI also gives CIOs and IT managers an effective way to accommodate Google Apps (and Chromebook), Salesforce and other solutions where data resides outside of the enterprise, thus creating security concerns. For example, VMware has built-in Google Apps functionality.

VDI Has Reached the Tipping Point
If VDI has so many clear benefits, why isn't it already as common as cloud-based server services? One reason is the misconception that VDI centers around thin clients that lack the performance and functionality that today's business users require. The reality is that although VDI works very well in a thin client environment, which may be ideal for applications such as airport self-check-in kiosks, it also supports more generalized and even power user requirements using traditional PCs, Macs and tablets.

For mobile workers, smartphones and tablets offer superior performance and functionality compared to thin clients. That use case also suggests that the term VDI is too limited and that the broader "end-user computing" might be more appropriate.

In fact, VDI can provide the ideal environment for the specific task required. For example, if the task is a repetitive one, such as order entry or accounts payable, the virtual desktop can be provisioned with reduced CPU power but more storage. Meanwhile, a power user might be provisioned with more CPU and memory than a typical laptop provides. As a result, VDI has the inherent flexibility to increase employee productivity by overcoming any device limitations.

Connectivity is another reason why VDI is at a tipping point. Even remote offices and telecommuters' homes now typically have fiber, copper or microwave with the high speeds and low latency necessary to provide a business-class user experience. For mobile workers, the wide availability of HSPA+ and the growing availability of LTE make VDI practical from locations such as client sites and airports. In fact, Ericsson predicts that by 2016, 70 percent of cloud access will be over a wireless connection.

Some CIOs and IT managers might be concerned about the cost of that connectivity, especially cellular. That's a reasonable concern, but fixating on it means losing sight of the big picture. For example, consider how VDI eliminates the costs associated with:

  • Managing and maintaining large quantities of desktop and laptop PCs and Macs.
  • Owning and operating an MDM platform.
  • Fines and criminal penalties for breaches that violate laws such as HIPAA and Sarbanes-Oxley.
  • Being sued by citizens of European Union countries under the Safe Harbor directive.
  • Repairing a brand after coming under regulatory scrutiny, perhaps to the point of having a law nicknamed after your company.

In a sense, VDI is like VoIP, which was technologically viable for years yet never got any marketplace traction. But as broadband IP networks started to become common, VoIP became a practical and then desirable alternative for enterprise communications. From a network, user need and marketplace perspective, VDI is now at the tipping point where VoIP was a decade ago.

What Makes the Ideal VDI Solution?
When assessing their options for implementing VDI, CIOs and IT managers should focus on services that:

  • Support 100 percent self-service and rapid turn-up. For example, look for VDI solutions that have a portal where customers can create an account, configure their services and have them delivered immediately to their PCs, tablets and smartphones.
  • Enable importing and cloning of existing desktop configurations. Why waste time and resources re-inventing the wheel each time?
  • Give IT managers the ability to create and manage different sets of desktop pools. This should include the ability to add, delete, stop, start, reboot and reimage in real time.
  • Provide redundant, highly available physical infrastructure linked with best-in-class hypervisor virtualization technologies.

These features provide an ideal solution - not just for a particular organization, but also as a catalyst for mass VDI adoption.

SoftBank and VMWare are among the companies that recognize why VDI could have levels of adoption and revenue comparable to those of cloud-based server solutions. For example, earlier this year, SoftBank licensed 8x8's Zerigo enterprise cloud software to create a VDI solution for enterprises in Japan and abroad.

SoftBank's VDI initiative is noteworthy for at least two reasons. First, the company has a history of betting big and presciently on emerging opportunities. Second, SoftBank is a major LTE operator in Japan and is in the midst of buying Sprint to expand its global LTE footprint. VDI gives SoftBank - and other mobile operators - a value-added solution to attract enterprises to their LTE service. That goes back to the point about how bandwidth has evolved from being a barrier to VDI adoption to a catalyst, and it's one more example of why VDI is coming soon to a PC or tablet near you.

More Stories By Andrew Schwabecher

Andrew Schwabecher is the General Manager of Cloud Hosting at 8x8, Inc, responsible for growing 8x8's managed hosting and cloud server infrastructure businesses. Prior to 8x8, he was the founder of Central Host - a managed hosting company based in the Silicon Valley providing managed dedicated & virtualized server infrastructure. Central Host was acquired by 8x8 in May of 2010. Prior to Central Host, Andrew held software and systems engineering positions at Hewlett-Packard, Electronics for Imaging, and ActiveVideo Networks. Andrew holds a degree in computer science from the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Intelligent Systems Services will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Established in 1994, Intelligent Systems Services Inc. is located near Washington, DC, with representatives and partners nationwide. ISS’s well-established track record is based on the continuous pursuit of excellence in designing, implementing and supporting nationwide clients’ mission-critical systems. ISS has completed many successful projects in Healthcare, Commercial, Manufacturing, ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that B2Cloud, a provider of enterprise resource planning software, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. B2cloud develops the software you need. They have the ideal tools to help you work with your clients. B2Cloud’s main solutions include AGIS – ERP, CLOHC, AGIS – Invoice, and IZUM
Sonus Networks introduced the Sonus WebRTC Services Solution, a virtualized Web Real-Time Communications (WebRTC) offer, purpose-built for the Cloud. The WebRTC Services Solution provides signaling from WebRTC-to-WebRTC applications and interworking from WebRTC-to-Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), delivering advanced real-time communications capabilities on mobile applications and on websites, which are accessible via a browser.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tufin, the market-leading provider of Security Policy Orchestration Solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As the market leader of Security Policy Orchestration, Tufin automates and accelerates network configuration changes while maintaining security and compliance. Tufin's award-winning Orchestration Suite™ gives IT organizations the power and agility to enforce security policy across complex, multi-vendor enterprise networks. With more than 1...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudian, Inc., the leading provider of hybrid cloud storage solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloudian, Inc., is a Foster City, California - based software company specializing in cloud storage software. The main product is Cloudian, an Amazon S3-compliant cloud object storage platform, the bedrock of cloud computing systems, that enables cloud service providers and enterprises to build reliable, affordable and scalable cloud storage solu...
“With easy-to-use SDKs for Atmel’s platforms, IoT developers can now reap the benefits of realtime communication, and bypass the security pitfalls and configuration complexities that put IoT deployments at risk,” said Todd Greene, founder & CEO of PubNub. PubNub will team with Atmel at CES 2015 to launch full SDK support for Atmel’s MCU, MPU, and Wireless SoC platforms. Atmel developers now have access to PubNub’s secure Publish/Subscribe messaging with guaranteed ¼ second latencies across PubNub’s 14 global points-of-presence. PubNub delivers secure communication through firewalls, proxy ser...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada. Our partner network encompasses some 300 of the world's leading systems integrators and security s...
Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 16th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York June 9-11 will find fresh new content in a new track called PaaS | Containers & Microservices Containers are not being considered for the first time by the cloud community, but a current era of re-consideration has pushed them to the top of the cloud agenda. With the launch of Docker's initial release in March of 2013, interest was revved up several notches. Then late last...
So I guess we’ve officially entered a new era of lean and mean. I say this with the announcement of Ubuntu Snappy Core, “designed for lightweight cloud container hosts running Docker and for smart devices,” according to Canonical. “Snappy Ubuntu Core is the smallest Ubuntu available, designed for security and efficiency in devices or on the cloud.” This first version of Snappy Ubuntu Core features secure app containment and Docker 1.6 (1.5 in main release), is available on public clouds, and for ARM and x86 devices on several IoT boards. It’s a Trend! This announcement comes just as...
SYS-CON Events announced today the IoT Bootcamp – Jumpstart Your IoT Strategy, being held June 9–10, 2015, in conjunction with 16th Cloud Expo and Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Javits Center in New York City. This is your chance to jumpstart your IoT strategy. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but includes hands-on demos and walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of Do-It-Yourself IoT platforms including Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, Spark and Intel Edison. You will also get an overview of cloud technologies s...
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Health care systems across the globe are under enormous strain, as facilities reach capacity and costs continue to rise. M2M and the Internet of Things have the potential to transform the industry through connected health solutions that can make care more efficient while reducing costs. In fact, Vodafone's annual M2M Barometer Report forecasts M2M applications rising to 57 percent in health care and life sciences by 2016. Lively is one of Vodafone's health care partners, whose solutions enable older adults to live independent lives while staying connected to loved ones. M2M will continue to gr...
While not quite mainstream yet, WebRTC is starting to gain ground with Carriers, Enterprises and Independent Software Vendors (ISV’s) alike. WebRTC makes it easy for developers to add audio and video communications into their applications by using Web browsers as their platform. But like any market, every customer engagement has unique requirements, as well as constraints. And of course, one size does not fit all. In her session at WebRTC Summit, Dr. Natasha Tamaskar, Vice President, Head of Cloud and Mobile Strategy at GENBAND, will explore what is needed to take a real time communications ...
The best mobile applications are augmented by dedicated servers, the Internet and Cloud services. Mobile developers should focus on one thing: writing the next socially disruptive viral app. Thanks to the cloud, they can focus on the overall solution, not the underlying plumbing. From iOS to Android and Windows, developers can leverage cloud services to create a common cross-platform backend to persist user settings, app data, broadcast notifications, run jobs, etc. This session provides a high level technical overview of many cloud services available to mobile app developers, includi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vicom Computer Services, Inc., a provider of technology and service solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. They are located at booth #427. Vicom Computer Services, Inc. is a progressive leader in the technology industry for over 30 years. Headquartered in the NY Metropolitan area. Vicom provides products and services based on today’s requirements around Unified Networks, Cloud Computing strategies, Virtualization around Software defined Data Ce...
Dave will share his insights on how Internet of Things for Enterprises are transforming and making more productive and efficient operations and maintenance (O&M) procedures in the cleantech industry and beyond. Speaker Bio: Dave Landa is chief operating officer of Cybozu Corp (kintone US). Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Dave has been on the forefront of the Cloud revolution driving strategic business development on the executive teams of multiple leading Software as a Services (SaaS) application providers dating back to 2004. Cybozu's kintone.com is a leading global BYOA (Build Your O...
SYS-CON Media announced today that @WebRTCSummit Blog, the largest WebRTC resource in the world, has been launched. @WebRTCSummit Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @WebRTCSummit Blog can be bookmarked ▸ Here @WebRTCSummit conference site can be bookmarked ▸ Here
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ciqada will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Ciqada™ makes it easy to connect your products to the Internet. By integrating key components - hardware, servers, dashboards, and mobile apps - into an easy-to-use, configurable system, your products can quickly and securely join the internet of things. With remote monitoring, control, and alert messaging capability, you will meet your customers' needs of tomorrow - today! Ciqada. Let your products take flight. For more inform...
What exactly is a cognitive application? In her session at 16th Cloud Expo, Ashley Hathaway, Product Manager at IBM Watson, will look at the services being offered by the IBM Watson Developer Cloud and what that means for developers and Big Data. She'll explore how IBM Watson and its partnerships will continue to grow and help define what it means to be a cognitive service, as well as take a look at the offerings on Bluemix. She will also check out how Watson and the Alchemy API team up to offer disruptive APIs to developers.