There has been a lot of buzz and coverage about Windows 8 since its consumer preview. There will be some very cool features with this release and one feature that really stands out with me is that Microsoft added an additional  supported processor type in that Windows 8 will run on Intel, AMD and now ARM based processors. That gives Windows 8 the ability to run on desktops as well as mobile phones and tablets.

Think about that, Microsoft has now expanded its desktop presence by adding in the mobile devices and Windows 8 will bring the Metro Interface across all desktops, phones and tablets. Can this be something that will enhance your overall computing experience as well as presenting another option for VDI?

I currently have an iPhone and an iPad that I use in conjunction with my laptop.  iTunes keeps things synced and I have some applications that will let me transfer files to and from my devices as well as have applications for most of the Office applications, but I will still have to take special steps to move and copy files around and will have to sync manually with a few of the mobile applications.  In the future, I can see Microsoft being able to offer automatic synchronization between devices running Windows 8 to the point that you can work on a document at the office, hit save on your way out the door and continue working on that document on your mobile device.  Microsoft may not have all the mobile applications in place yet but I am sure they will be coming.  If you have the applications you need, that will work across all your devices, would you really need virtual access to a desktop?  I do not think this will replace the need for VDI in all cases but would give another avenue for mobile virtual computing.

Speaking of VDI, the use of Microsoft’s “Windows To Go” technology that loads the user’s local install of Windows 8 onto a thumb drive, with apps and all, the user can then plug into any other computer to duplicate their work environment anywhere.  What if we take that concept just a wee bit further and perform a T2V (thumb to virtual) conversion and use that virtual machine for their virtual desktop, giving the end user even more options for accessibility?

The Microsoft App Store will be the key to success and we will have to wait until the Windows 8 general release to know how much content will be available as well as how long to really populate the store with quality content.

Conclusion

If we consider that both Microsoft and VMware have invested a lot of time, resources, and money into the mobile arena.  VMware is  looking to run mobile virtual machines on your phone as well as all the different mobile applications that VMware has released.   Microsoft, on the other hand, is unifying the user interface across all platforms and really starting to push their App Store in the Cloud.  I think we have arrived at the point in time for a mobile technology explosion and I would think both Microsoft and VMware would agree.  How long will it take before application venders start releasing both a desktop as well as a mobile version? I don’t think it will be too far off and the dream of being able to completely untethered from your desktop gets closer and closer.

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Steve Beaver (155 Posts)

Stephen Beaver is the co-author of VMware ESX Essentials in the Virtual Data Center and Scripting VMware Power Tools: Automating Virtual Infrastructure Administration as well as being contributing author of Mastering VMware vSphere 4 and How to Cheat at Configuring VMware ESX Server. Stephen is an IT Veteran with over 15 years experience in the industry. Stephen is a moderator on the VMware Communities Forum and was elected vExpert for 2009 and 2010. Stephen can also be seen regularly presenting on different topics at national and international virtualization conferences.

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