SAN FRANCISCO — I attended a session at VMworld 2009 today demonstrating VMware View and its cost saving value to the enterprise, but the only thing it really proved was how important proper bandwidth is for desktop virtualization.
The session, called “VMware View – Evangelizing the Value Proposition,” was a hands-on workshop using 46 Wyse thin client desktops running VMware View. The point of the session was to let attendees run the Web-based VMware TCO/ROI Calculator using VMware View, so we could see how much money desktop virtualization can save while experiencing VMware View at the same time.
Unfortunately, the bandwidth in that room was less than adequate, and thus, so was the performance. For instance, the TCO/ROI calculator prompts for your company name, type, location, etc. After entering the data, the system took a minute or more to process it, and moving from one page to the next was agonizingly slow. Not good.
As we all sat waiting for our systems to process simple requests, the poor session host, VMware’s Director of Enterprise Marketing, Bob Stephens, had to present on the benefits of desktop virtualization, such as reduced administration costs, better security, easier management and higher availability than traditional PCs. Stephens reiterated that the bandwidth in the room was “horrible” and said the performance was not indicative of what VMware View is actually like.
Later on I chatted with David Bieneman, the CEO and Founder of Liquidware Labs, which offers desktop virtualization diagnostic tools. I told him about the snafu during that session, and he said a safe bet for bandwidth is 200 kbits per user and under 200 milliseconds of latency. The sad performance could also have been due to a bandwidth connection issue to or from VMware’s ROI/CTO Calculator Tool server, he said.
Unfortunately, the session was full of potential customers who now have a bad taste in their mouth about desktop virtualization. By a show of hands, all the attendees in the room said they use VMware, but only one or two use desktop virtualization already. The IT administrator from a University sitting beside me wasn’t using desktop virtualization, and was less than impressed with what he saw. From what I could tell, other attendees felt the same way.
The takeaway here is that if you don’t have the right networking infrastructure for virtualized desktops, your end users will notice a difference, and they will complain. What’s worse, the time they spend waiting for their systems to respond translates into lower productivity, and it takes away from the savings you could gain in other areas.