Why do people believe that non-persistent virtual desktops are the future of Desktop Cloud Computing? I do not!
I was recently on a LinkedIn forum when I saw an amazing opinion posted that I feel is worthy of a blog because it feels so short sighted. The discussion centered on experts who believe that the best solution for a single VDI architecture is founded in floating pool/non-persistent desktop technology. Their core argument was based on the idea that surrounding support systems have “evolved” significantly since “session virtualization” options were first offered to the market.
I am passionate about desktop cloud computing, which involves primary architectural infrastructure and a complete ecosystem of support offerings that enable the transition of primary, personalized and persistent desktops to the cloud. As such, the whole “floating pool” concept seems counterintuitive to me. To be fair, I can think of a few use cases where non-persistent desktops can provide what a physical desktop delivers. My main point of contention is that few people would accept a non-persistent virtual desktop as their “primary” work environment. Even if you deliver the personalization that makes it “my” non-persistent desktop, the fact is, it is not really “my” desktop if it inhibits my desire to customize it and to produce real thought-worker value with it.
I recently had a conversation on twitter that went something like this:
twitter user - 9 out of 10 people prefer their floating pool-based virtual desktops
me - 10 out of 10 people, if given the choice between a persistent cloud desktop and a floating pool desktop, will prefer persistent desktops as do their IT support system
twitter user - 10 out of 10 people won’t even know the difference
I found this interesting but not valid for those legitimately seeking to move their desktops to the cloud. In a previous blog, I discussed basic virtual desktop storage architectures with use cases for each type, which included floating and dedicated pools (non-persistent and persistent desktops). I have seen that every deployment we at V3 Systems have done has its own personality. For example, in a recent security company audit of 100,000 physical desktops, they found there were 60,000 individual entitlements, which above all represented how they set up each physical desktop for their own use. If desktop clouds fail at the simple task of enabling individuals to compute with their desktops as easily or simply as they want, in order for them to get their thought-worker tasks done, then people and IT departments simply will not adopt them.
Desktop clouds provide exceptional value when they are built for the thought-worker to have guarantees like performance (perceived and otherwise), utilization (how many desktops can be served at a time depending on bandwidth and other bottlenecks), uptime (a new offering compared with physical desktops but very valuable when measured against virtual counterparts), and availability (like the ability to go offline and, for example, write a blog when the airplane I am on doesn't have Wi-Fi like this one :))
I am not arguing that persistent desktops are the only way forward, or even THE way forward. However, I am hopeful of the idea that architects will begin to recognize that a “one size fits all” cloud for desktops is the wrong approach. The true value-adds for the future are: a best-of-class approach for given market segments, and entitlements that best reflect the value of the end users (whoever they might be).
Some of the desktop clouds currently being worked on that excite me include:
desktop clouds for call centers (which seem to work best with floating pool, non-persistent models),
Point of Sale (POS) (which would work best with floating pool were it not for an offline use case requirement, so they are moving forward with a dedicated model),
Law and professional office desktop clouds where IT organizations are building desktop cloud offerings to meet the needs of different types of users within their organizations.
Simply stated, the way forward is desktop clouds. There will be many architectures and many pool types. An article I read recently talked about the value of layering companies like Unidesk. They provide a highly valuable option for many types of desktops because they have a layering capability, which uniquely allows for varied types of entitlements within different pool types. I am excited to see more and more desktop clouds being built and I welcome new ideas on how we can participate in them moving forward, regardless of their types. Let us build desktop clouds to meet the needs of the cloud users, and not mandate to them technology which gets in the way of how they like to compute using their existing physical desktop paradigm.