Smaller companies are going to thrive as VMware continues to change licensing models. This will only happen, however, if these companies continue to license the way they currently do.
Also, after listening to the VMware Communities podcast, I agree that 2011 will not be the year of VDI, and if you aren’t using VDI now, you won’t be next year, either. The only exception I can see to this is in the education market. Education is slowly coming around to server virtualization, and I can see the cost savings of implementing a VDI solution almost immidiately. The simple fact is, education markets such as ours perform hardware renewals on a yearly basis, and that usually consists of roughly 1000 PCs a year on a five-year cycle. This is a lot of money, which could be offset by a lab or two of thin clients in some of our locations.
Due to the fact that businesses are starting to deliver their own private clouds, you will also see a massive explosion on the market relating to performance-monitoring and security tools, as well as companies investing heavily into their network infrastructure and storage environments.
Mike wins two virtualization books, “Grow a Greener Data Center” by Douglas Alger and “VMware VI and vSphere SDK: Managing the VMware Infrastructure and vSphere” by Steve Jin. Congratulations, Mike!
Check our site next week to see what our Server Virtualization Advisory Board members predict for 2011.]]>
For example, yesterday, the coalition between VMware, Cisco and EMC (VCE) launched new Vblocks targeting VDI and SAP deployments, but VCE’s senior vice president of solutions Todd Pavone declined to comment on how many customers Vblocks have garnered since they officially began shipping last November.
“There is definitely momentum for standard architectures,” said Gartner Inc. analyst Chris Wolf. Some cloud service providers have found that enterprise customers are willing to pay a premium for a trusted architecture from vendors they know, he said. Stacks are also garnering interest among financial institutions that want to deploy trusted infrastructure quickly.
Still, while the turnkey concept may fly, there’s no guarantee these particular offerings from big vendors will burn up the market. Among the potential use cases for Vblocks for companies that can afford them is a quick-setup test / dev environment. But there are also startups like Kubisys, launched earlier this year, looking to offer turnkey test / dev appliances for about $80,000 MSRP – far lower than the million-dollar price tags on some Vblock bundles. The same is true in the VDI space, though Vblocks may have greater allure for MySAP users struggling with that resource-intensive application.
Since the early days of the VCE alliance, however, there has also been concern among some enterprises that preconfigured bundles will lock them in and constrain their choice of technologies and vendors. And reports from the sales field are lukewarm, indicating growing but moderate interest.
“We are seeing significant interest in VCE and Vblocks, but most of the time it ends up getting broken up in to individual parts (i.e. an EMC array or a Cisco UCS), unless it is a greenfield opportunity, like a new data center,” wrote one systems integrator in New England. “We do expect to sell two real Vblocks this quarter, though.”
It’s not just VMware’s stack offerings having mixed success in the market, either (at least, from what information we can gather about them) – many of Oracle‘s users, for example, have flatly rejected the company’s attempts to get them to run Oracle apps only on Oracle VM and stacks of the company’s server and storage hardware acquired with Sun.
Yet big vendors, like HP, continue to rack up acquisitions in an effort to build these turnkey stacks, and continue to insist that customers are asking — nay, demanding — that they deliver them. If this is really true, and there’s a huge groundswell of IT managers begging for proprietary turnkey stacks, I haven’t caught sight of it myself yet — nor have I been given any specific revenue or market share numbers that reflect it.]]>
A virtual environment has very few physical touch points, meaning you can administer and use the environment from anywhere you can get a secure network connection. This is particularly important in situations where it’s not safe to leave your house.
Consider a virtualized desktop environment: All of your compute resources are kept in your data center, where there is robust network connectivity and all your data is centrally stored and protected. The only thing that leaves the protection of your data center is the users’ desktop displays – and that is over an encrypted connection to ensure its privacy.
With your entire environment virtualized, you can implement your telework program — you do have one, don’t you? — and allow your critical staff to stay home and still be effective. Allowing your workers to access necessary resources from the safety and comfort of their homes does several things:
The swine flu is simply the latest issue that highlights this need to have a plan for how to deal with emergency situations. There have been many other issues in the past (Hurricane Katrina, SARS, 9/11, bird flu, etc.), and there will be many more in the future. Take the current outbreak as an opportunity to formalize your business continuity plans and also to look into the benefits of implementing virtualization within your data center and out to your desktops … you’ll be glad you did!
Editor’s note: To find out if you have swine flu, go here: DoIHavePigFlu.com.
At Virtual Computer, a new startup in Westford, Mass., the thinking is that for desktops, the virtualization layer belongs directly on the client, in the form of a bare-metal hypervisor. There the hypervisor brings management benefits like simplified provisioning and patching of images, but without of the mobility and performance limitations of VDI, said Doug Lane, Virtual Computer’s director of product marketing and management.
When VMware announced its intention to deliver a client hypervisor for “offline VDI” this fall, the company tacitly acknowledged VDI’s shortcomings, according to Lane. Meanwhile, the company is still focused squarely on delivering the desktop from the server.
“With VMware, offline VDI is the niche case,” he said. But when Virtual Computer looks out at the enterprise, it sees a preponderance of laptops and thick clients. “Our model starts there, and we think that server-hosted desktops are the niche case.”
To that end, Virtual Computer is developing NxTop, a PC management suite pronounced “nextop.” It consists of a Xen bare-metal hypervisor called NxTop Engine optimized for laptop-class hardware and that runs Windows virtual machines. Those are managed by its NxTop Control console from which administrators can configure and provision images, set up access and protection policies, and the like. NxTop is currently in beta and is scheduled to ship by the end of the first quarter of 2009.
Without making a stake in the ground and validating one strategy over another, Gartner senior research analyst Terry Cosgrove agreed that there several issues with hosted virtual desktops (Gartner-speak for VDI). “Hosted virtual desktops are an immature, adolescent technology” that won’t be ready for mainstream use for a number of years, he said. In the meantime, “there’s a place for alternative architectures to achieve the same thing – centralized management and control, but that gives users some autonomy.”
Cosgrove also said that several stealth-mode startups working on VDI alternatives will emerge over the next couple of months. There is also speculation that Microsoft and/or Citrix are developing client hypervisors of their own, and questions about which tack laptop OEMs like Dell and Lenovo will promote. One thing is clear, though: With laptop sales now exceeding desktop sales, those OEMs “are highly motivated to have a solution that will not prohibit the sales of laptops,” Cosgrove said.]]>
Johnathan, a Server Virtualization blog reader, recently posted a comment on one of my posts detailing the math for a 250-seat virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)/thin-client implementation, which amounted to a $350 per-desktop-capex advantage for VDI; a three-times faster deployment schedule and troubleshooting times that were orders of magnitude faster (albeit harder to quantify). Not too shabby.
Of course, that was before VMware announced new pricing for its re-branded VDI suite, View 3. At $150 per seat for View Enterprise or $250 for View Premier, capex savings would decrease to $300 or $200 per desktop. That’s assuming you pay list price, which is highly doubtful. But it also doesn’t account for the storage capacity savings you might realize by using View Composer to share desktop images: an average of 70%, according to VMware.
Suffice it to say that assigning ROI dollars to an IT project is a highly personal, subjective affair. And that the numbers posted by others are often suspect, as Bernard Golden points out in his article “Virtualization Projections Deserve Scrutiny.” Here, Golden looks into a Butler Group report that reports client virtualization savings of $159,000 for 1,000 desktops, or $159 per desktop, per year. Come to find out, the $159 savings was in energy costs alone. Who knows what the overall cost of the deployment really was?
At any rate, if you’ve done the math on a VDI implementation, and believe that your numbers bear scrutiny, go ahead and post the numbers in the comments section of our blog.]]>
That’s all for now, folks. Brace yourself for a lot of news on virtual desktops. Things are about to get interesting]]>
The production facility at Nina Plastics performs a process called plastics extrusion, which releases all manner of dust and grime into the atmosphere, clogging up fans and power supplies, and settling down on hard drives, Patel said.
At first, Patel’s staff would try and fix the broken desktops, which production workers used to log their job start and stop times. “But it became too much of a hassle for IT to constantly fix stuff,” Patel said, so the company eventually gave up on trying to computerize its production facility.
“We shouldn’t be maintenance men,” said Patel, who also oversees application development for the firm. “We all went to college and should be working on more important problems.”
However, that was before Patel, with a handful of administrative staffers, spearheaded a virtual desktop trial using a combination of VMware virtualization plus thin clients from Pano Logic.
By going with virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), Nina Plastics derived all the usual benefits you’d expect: faster desktop provision, easier patching and upgrading, simplified troubleshooting, etc. At the same time, Patel also found that the Pano Logic devices were robust enough to withstand the harsh conditions of the production floor. “There’s no CPU, no memory, no fan. There’s really nothing in there to break or get old,” he said. The company has since reintroduced computers into its production facility, giving customer service staff real-time visibility into the status of a particular job.
Patel also plans to add touch-screen monitors to the Pano devices, a feature v and supported in the Pano Virtual Desktop Solution (VDS) 2.5 software.
Patel had lots of other interesting stuff to say about his VDI deployment, but for now, suffice to say that he’s a fan. “It’s easy to fall in love with, especially when you have suffered so much,” Patel said. “I have fewer gray hairs, fewer lost girlfriends, and a lot of time given back to me because of virtualization.”]]>
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ThinLaunch can be cobbled together with a few Group Policy object edits in Active Directory without buying the product. Simply replace the shell with whatever VDI launcher (or other application) you want. Microsoft tells you how to do it here. True, ThinLaunch then monitors this process if it crashes and can automatically restart it, but this is also something that can be managed with an application or by copying the code from this site.
ThinLaunch is available as an MSI package, meaning it’s very easy to deploy via Group Policy. Then again, Group Policies are even easier to deploy via group policy. Duh. ThinLaunch requires .NET 2.0. and GPOs don’t. ThinLaunch supports Windows 2000 through Vista and 2K8. GPOs do too.
I can see the need for this package and I can even see some large enterprise customers who’d want a packaged application to handle the conversion of legacy desktops. I can even see using the product in small businesses with virtualization already in place but a lot of legacy desktops and a lack of cash. What I can’t see is how it’s innovative in its approach.
Sorry, ThinLaunch, but you get three out of ten pokers — there’s just nothing hot there.]]>
After the address by VMware CTO Steve Herrod, however, was a different story. Assisted by VMware’s Jerry Chen, Herrod and Chen finally got a rise out of the audience, who applauded loudly to a demonstration of 25 virtual machines being provisioned out to thin clients and laptops, then updating the master VM image with Google Chrome using ThinApp.
“I need that right now,” said the attendee sitting behind me at the conclusion of Chen’s demonstration. “Heck, I needed that yesterday.”
I think part of the crowd’s enthusiasm simply had to do with finally “getting it.” Unlike Maritz, Chen used the word ‘hypervisor’ to describe the “thin-client virtualization layer” that drives VMware’s vClient idea of being able to manage disconnected laptops as well as connected VDI thin clients. By saying the H word, 14,000 VMworld attendees had a collective aha moment.
Whatever the case, with vClient, VMware has once again taken a top-down approach, tackling the enterprise’s “desktop dilemma” rather than that of the consumer or SMB. In a subsequent conversation with VMware senior director of product marketing Bogomil Balkansky, he said it’s not that those segments don’t have desktop dilemmas of their own, rather, “the problems of the enterprise are very well identified,” and thus, for VMware, the enterprise is “a much easier entry point.”
Looking out a few years, however, Balkansky described a distinctly consumer-focused scenario. Home users today run full-fledged PCs, complete with a host OS, and all the attending management issues. At the same time, home users engage largely in web-focused activities. “Given that everything I do is Web-connected, why isn’t that part of my DSL service?” Balkansky asked rhetorically.
In other words, Balkansky is insinuating that someday, users’ personal desktops will run as VDI images hosted by the Verizons and Comcasts of the world rather than locally on their home PCs. For a small monthly fee, users will enjoy the convenience of a centrally managed, backed up desktop that they can access from anywhere, and easily recover even if their disk drive fails or laptop is stolen. That’s an idea that just about everyone can get their head around.]]>