VMworld Keynote – Day #2

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I have just finished watching Steve Herrod’s keynote – which I must say – I found far more enjoyable than Paul’s keynote yesterday.  I am not going to try and summarize the whole keynote – but I do want to dive in on one part.

There was a section where they talked about their vision for combined online / offline VDI.  The concept here was that a user could have a unified desktop that they used locally on their laptop & remotely on their home computer or mobile device (though I never did figure out why the demo guy needed to connect remotely from his home computer if he had the image on his laptop).

At first, when I was watching this, I was pretty darned impressed.  And do not get me wrong, this is some cool technology.  I am especially interested in finding out more details about VMware’s client hypervisor (as the details become available).

But as I was sitting there thinking “That would be cool! That could really change the way I use computers!” – I realized that, no, it would not change the way I used computers at all.  You see, at Microsoft we have a great terminal services infrastructure for employees to use.

So for me today:

  • When I am at work I use my main desktop (now with 6 monitors hooked up to it and some massive desktop real estate) most of the time.
  • When I get home – I then am able to seamlessly and securely connect to my desktop computer in order to do any work that I want to do from home.  And thanks to the fantastic work by the Remote Desktop team in Windows 7, I get full Aero support and a great multimedia experience doing this.
  • I can also use remote desktop from my mobile devices.

In fact the only downside to this whole setup is what to do if my work desktop is turned off – but then the Microsoft IT team have published most of our standard corporate applications over Remote Desktop as well – so even in this case it is easy for me to connect and do my work.

What are your thoughts on this?  Do you think that the combination of online & offline VDI would revolutionize your work style?


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  • I think the point with the offline virtual desktop are in those circumstances where you don't have a connection to any network.  If you don't want to shell out $$$ for network connectivity on the plane, you either have to have the items installed/streamed locally or you end up reading a book (which is not a bad idea).  The demo was interesting to watch, but would have come across better if he was disconnected.  But just like Microsoft, we do the same thing at Citrix.  You can get to your desktop in the office, or connect to a remote session over ICA.  

    Daniel (Twitter @djfeller)

  • I'm not at VMworld, so I may be missing a key point, but I don't get the point. I guess my theory is if you really want something that is offline, then why do VDI at all? Aren't you far better off equipping your mobile workforce with windows 7 laptops and taking advantage of DirectAccess for seamless access? VDI is very cool and has its place, but why would I take on that management and datacenter overhead if I am still going to expect to do local management and overhead? Aren't you better selecting one route or the other at least ona per user basis.

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VMworld Keynote – Day #2