VMworld 2014 — The Essential Desktop Sessions

VMworld US 2014It’s that time again. VMworld 2014 opens in San Francisco on Monday, August 25. With seventy-four sessions covering end user computing this year, it’s clear that VMware is as serious about the desktop as it is about the data center. I’ve been looking through the session catalog to find what promise to be the most informative and thought-provoking desktop sessions of the conference.

So, in no particular order, let’s start with:

EUC1943 – Managing the Desktop as a Service (DaaS) Investment Portfolio

  • Sandra Palumbo – Director, NaviSite
  • David Stafford – Director of Product Management, VMware
  • Keith Dobbins – Director of Solution Architects, NaviSite
  • Joe Thykattil – Technology Architect, Time Warner/NaviSite

If you are responsible for the enterprise desktop, this is the one DaaS session at VMworld this year you must attend. Don’t go because it’s about cloud hosted desktops; go because you might come away with a new perspective on how to view the desktop as an end user service.

Like it or not, BYOD and CoIT are knocking down the walls of enterprise IT, and while the cloud-first, mobile-first mantra is diminishing the strategic importance of the desktop platform, DaaS is creating a viable alternative to the enterprise owned and managed desktop.

Partner-led sessions can be a bit hit-or-miss, and I don’t know NaviSite well, but Dave Stafford is an outstanding speaker, and anyone who is talking about “IT services (and DaaS) as a supply chain operation” needs to be listened to. Depending on your role, DaaS vendors are either your potential salvation or about to put you out of a job. Discover how they are going to do that, and learn to speak their language before it’s too late.

If you are new to DaaS you should also consider:

EUC1496VMware Horizon DaaS 101: Why You Should Get Started Today with Cloud-hosted Virtual Desktops

Or for a more in-depth look at VMware’s perspective on DaaS, you can try Stafford’s other session,  EUC1726Battleground DaaS: A Comparative Look at Today’s Offerings, or EUC1727Technical Deep Dive on Delivering Shared Sessions, Apps, and Virtual Desktops from the Cloud with Horizon DaaS. But if you do attend that second one, don’t forget to take a pinch of salt along with you. Horizon DaaS may be a good platform, but short of announcing a major new release, Danny Allen will have to work very hard to convince me that “there is no argument that Horizon DaaS is the best offering for delivering full virtual desktops, published desktops, or applications.”


Next up is:

EUC1497 – How to Leverage DaaS to Deliver Google Docs, Apps, and Windows Desktops on Chromebooks

  • Dave Grant – Sr. Director, VMware
  • Nick King – Head of Marketing, Google Devices for Work, Google

Chromebooks are making a huge impact in K–12 education and are starting to make progress in the enterprise. However, for most, the need to retain access to Windows applications remains. While I question the emphasis on DaaS over a RemoteApp service in many such situations, there should be enough in this session to show that Chrome OS will have a growing role on desktops everywhere. If you want to learn more about what’s happening in education, consider also:

EUC1692Overcoming 21st Century Education Challenges with VDI

EUC1620Education Panel: Tackling Device Diversity in K–12 and Higher Education


If DaaS and VDI aren’t your cup of tea, you might want to take a look at:

EUC1535 – The One-Two Punch: How Horizon View and Mirage Modernized Our Desktop Infrastructure

  • Logan Smith – Solutions Engineer, HCR ManorCare
  • Jeff Szastak – Staff Systems Engineer, VMware


EUC2654 – UK Hospital Switches from Citrix XenApp to VMware Horizon, Saving £2.5 Million and Improving Patient Care

  • Seth Knox – VP of Products, Atlantis Computing
  • Dave Rose – Head of Design authority, UHL

Wanova never got the attention it deserved for Mirage, and even now, two years after VMware acquired Wanova, I still don’t think VMware has done enough to promote awareness of this technology. So, this is a welcome opportunity for a look at a real-world deployment combining Mirage and View to build an end-to-end desktop virtualization environment with both distributed and centralized virtual desktops.

And to back these up, there are two more technically focused sessions:

EUC1221 – VMware Mirage Best Practices and What’s New

EUC2182 – VMware Mirage Large Scale Reference Architecture and Customer Deployments


If you want to find out just how far you can take VDI today and learn where it is likely to go next, you have to go to:

EUC2551 – Re-Imagining VDI Design: Architecture for Next-Gen Desktops

  • Daniel Beveridge – Sr. EUC Architect, Office of the CTO, VMware
  • John Dodge – Director, End User Computing Technical Enablement, VMware

Be prepared for a surprise. The pace of innovation in the desktop world is not slowing down, and we are on the brink of seeing new technologies that will overturn the current desktop computing price/performance model. Learn about them first here.


The final can’t-miss technical session is:

EUC1258 – From the Fire Hose Series: 3D Graphics for Virtual Desktops Smackdown

  • Bernhard Tritsch – CTO, bluecue
  • Ruben Spruijt – CTO, PQR
  • Shawn Bass – Blogger, Consultant, ShawnBass.com

If you haven’t reached the point where 3D graphics performance is a primary factor in your VDI decision tree, don’t feel left out: you’ll be there soon enough. When that point comes, you will thank Benny, Ruben, and Shawn for sharing everything there is to know about what is, for the moment, the hardest, most technically demanding VDI technology to get right.