VDI vs. Client Side Desktop Virtualization

“There’s a lot of buzz in the industry about Desktop Virtualization but what does that really mean to most. Thanks to the great marketing machines that the big Virtualization players have (most noticeably VMWare for this one). Most people associate Desktop Virtualization with with VDI.

VDI or Virtual Desktop Infrastructure refers to running your desktop as a VM in a Data Center on a hypervisor (such as Xen or ESX) and accessing it remotely using a remote display technology such as RDP. Given that server virtualization has been such a big success for VMWare, it is no surprise that they are pushing the server based computing paradigm to service the desktop world.

However, they are missing some key elements that users are looking for in this paradigm:

Not using our powerful laptops: Despite all the hype of cloud computing, we cannot deny the fact that the average laptop keeps getting faster and more capable and the compute power for the same amount of money has been doubling every 2 years.  With all the raw power available to the average person, why would you not want to use that to give yourself a rich client experience rather than a limited one over RDP to a remote Desktop using VDI
Management: The biggest challenge that enterprise IT is really trying to solve is the management of these desktop and the thought is that running them in the desktop under control of IT is the way to do it.  The issue is that VDI doesn’t really solve the management issues, it simply moves it to the VMs running in the Data Center
Untethered access: Needless to say that VDI requires you to be tethered always having a high speed bandwidth connection available to use.

So what are the other options available for someone trying to solve the use cases that drove them to VDI in the first place.  There are a couple of interesting companies out there that merit a look., MokaFive and RingCube.

Both of these have taken a different stance and have created a client side Virtualized desktop that runs locally rather than in a Data Center.  In addition they claim to be able to handle management, deployment, security, application updates etc. Now I haven’t played with these technologies but if they do whatever they claim, it is going to be very interesting.

MokaFive recently closed a round of $21M, so that should be taken as some validation that the technology is working. I will give further updates as I find out more about the technologies.



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