As we continually look for new ways to deliver applications to an increasingly mobile user population, the question is becoming: if solutions can be packaged once for any device, do we still need VDI?
For years, companies have been searching for the holy grail of providing seamless access to business critical systems via a browser. One of the key tenets of a VDI solution is the availability of all applications, anywhere. However, it comes at a significant cost, primarily in terms of the back-end grunt required to provide this capability, but also financially.
No VDI solution has ever saved an organisation money, and the theory of removing all processing power from local devices and having ‘smart’ dumb terminals either doesn’t work or the cost of the device needed is almost the same as that of a traditional desktop or laptop. Granted, there are certain benefits of using VDI such as resilience and availability. However, if a desktop or laptop fails this only impacts one person. If a VDI solution fails everyone loses access to their applications and business grinds to a halt. And, despite what solution developers may tell you, it can and does happen!
Application delivery systems have always struggled to handle complex (and often older) applications. The time taken to develop and package multiple versions side by side on the same system can be staggering. For example, App-V is supposedly ‘free’, yet it requires multiple packages for different environments which adds both complexity and cost.
But the real irony is that the main blocker to VDI is personal preference and individualisation. We are all different and will always want different things, whereas delivering the same thing to everyone is what VDI excels at.
The ideal solution would enable all applications to be delivered quickly, from one package to any device; handle the plethora of DLLs, browser plug-ins and versions without breaking sweat; and cope with different user login requirements and , all in a single package. This, according to Numecent, is what their cloud paging solution provides. It’s something that we’ve been testing as a way of packaging complex applications and have recently sold to one of our customers for this purpose.
So, if you really can now deliver any application within a very short timescale to any device, anywhere, why do you need VDI? You can buy users the desktop or laptops they prefer and let them have the applications they want. You can set them up to conform to security requirements without worrying if an application will work, using the advanced licence tracking feature available within cloud paging to ensure that they are using them and remove the application if they are not (so the product pays for itself).
Of course the move back from centralised to distributed computing means some of the other issues VDI was designed to address return – for example users will tend to store data locally, which means it will not be backed up. However, technologies are available to fill those gaps, which I’ll look at in a future post. In my opinion, as a way of handling complex line of business applications it’s the obvious solution.
You can read more about this topic in my article on ITProPortal