Right now is a particularly interesting time in the world of IT. Historically, IT has swung back & forth between centralization and decentralization, closed and open, tightly controlled and loosely controlled. Lately, though, a third option has cropped up: centralized control with decentralized workloads. In my opinion it’s a function of speed, implemented through bandwidth and processing capacity. We now have enough bandwidth between our devices to start treating the device in the next rack column like a slightly-less-local version of ourselves. We also have enough bandwidth that we’ve outstripped our need for separate storage and data networks, and can converge them into a single wire, running a single set of protocols (most notably TCP and IP). On the processing side, each node is basically a datacenter unto itself. 16, 32, 64 cores per server, terabytes of RAM. The advent of SSD and PCIe flash rounds out the package, lessening the need for large monolithic collections of spindles (aka “traditional storage arrays”). The problem then becomes one of control. How do we take advantage of the performance and cost that local processing brings, but maintain all the control, redundancy, and management benefits we had with a monolithic solution, while keeping the complexity under control? And while we usually talk about doing this at great scale, can we do this on a small scale, too?
On the May 30th Virtualization Security Podcast, Shaun Donaldson, Director of Alliances at Bitdefender Enterprise, joined us to discuss end user computing (EUC) security and how their new Gravity Zone product ties their enterprise products together under one scalable management umbrella. We had a very interesting conversation on the subject of EUC security, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) security, and all aspects of the the EUC stack. There are quite a few moving pieces in the EUC stack. It is greater than your mobile device and the system it is accessing; there is a complete networking and political stack between the two, and perhaps many systems you have to jump through to access your data. Continue reading EUC Security: Much More Than VDI
The recent rumors of Microsoft working on a hosted virtual desktop (DaaS) solution to add to their cloud services offering may actually end up being one of the most viable options for organizations who already rely heavily on Microsoft infrastructure to run their business. Having all of your core services being delivered from a single location and provider could ease the operational concerns of some who find running a hybrid of on-premise and hosted solutions still requiring the same amount of operational support. Continue reading Can Microsoft succeed as a DaaS provider with Mohoro?
Data Protection and patch management of virtual desktops, while not a sexy topic, is one that should happen on a regular basis within any organization implementing or working to implement virtual desktops. Recently, we have been testing virtual desktop software and there is a huge difference between patching and protecting data in a small number of instances and 1000s of instances. There are scale considerations as well as ease of use for file level and system recovery as well as issues with patching virtual desktops (not to mention other security issues). Continue reading Virtual Desktop Patching and Data Protection
Businesses today waltz with the end of the PC. AppSense’s Jon Rolls wrote an interesting blog post on how the Windows desktop has not ceased to be in the post-PC era. For many businesses the corporate PC and the corporate laptop are increasingly supplemented by a personal tablet, personal laptop, personal smartphone. Perhaps if corporate IT moved faster (or depending on your viewpoint, businesses were willing to invest more in IT), then the rising reality of users believing they must bring in personal devices to be productive would halt, possibly even recede.
Yet, even if the organisation can wrest control back from tablet-wielding users by providing appropriate devices, given consumer device trends today those devices will very likely be touch capable, and this trend will increase. I attended an Intel event recently where the speaker reported that at a recent innovation environment held at a school, 99% of the submissions from the innovative teenagers expected any IT interaction to be touch/gesture control rather than a keyboard; not voice either—you can tell Star Trek hasn’t been on TV for a while. Kids today, eh?
Virtualised desktops have one fundamental advantage over physical desktops: they can be transferred between devices. Every other value point for VDI (availability, manageability, security) has a counter point with a physical desktop. For many, transference is a significant productivity benefit, especially if that transference is to a personal device.
If the interaction interface changes so dramatically, if your tablet virtual desktop experience is poor because that interface isn’t designed or can’t accommodate touch, will that hamper VDI dominance?
Could it lead to an early demise?
Atlantis Computing have released the first in-memory storage solution for persistent VDI. Setting aside the remoted experience, peripheral support, licensing and off-line access – the most nemesising nemesis for VDI is hardware scale. A major hardware limiting factor is storage performance.
In a transition from physical PCs to virtual work spaces you can move 50,1000,20,000 people from an environment where everyone has their own hard drive in their own device, to a shared environment where there are (hopefully) no longer 50,1000,20,000 hard-drives. You do this to achieve cost savings. Still, in the majority of instances, the desktop file system and the apps that run on it weren’t designed to understand such consolidation. Many a desktop project fails because the storage infrastructure wasn’t architected with these mismatches in mind.
Yet, desktop virtualization solutions have have matured to accommodate such issues. A range of increasingly impressive VDI appliances: dedicated drive arrays. Way back in 2010 we were reporting that Atlantis Computing were looking to Transform Desktop Computing with their In Line Image and Optimization (ILIO) product. Atlantis Computing’s core ILIO product sought to address optimizing non-persistent VDI instances, then offered a RAM based solution with their ILIO DiskLess VDI, then presented a way to optimize Citrix XenApp instances. Atlantis’ offerings look to dramatically reduce the physical hardware required to support virtualized desktop infrastructures.
And now to their portfolio, Atlantis Computing add ILIO Persistent VDI 4.0. Some early stability issues aside, Atlantis have developed a strong and supportive market and expanded on it. What is in this release? If 2013 is to be the year of VDI – how does ILIO Persistent VDI 4.0 help? Importantly, will Atlantis Computing’s ILIO Persistent VDI change the game?