The Riverbed Blog (testing)

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Posts Tagged ‘Virtual Desktops’

The Challenges with Mobility and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)

Posted by riverbedtest on August 23, 2011

As a commuter heading into San Francisco on BART for the past several years,  I feel as though I have actually witnessed a revolution. 

Just a few years ago, the common commuter either slept, read (books, newspapers, magazines), or stared in the distance.  Occasionally someone might take or make a call, or possibly send a text or two (I loved my nokia 8210, so small!).  

Today, however, the most common pose is a near constant stare at our smart phones or connected device. Stare

I’m as guilty as the next person, pounding away updates on my Blackberry.  But the behavioral change is fascinating to me. Will it always  be like this?  Is this just a phase or are we forever committing to our screens?

Sidestepping the discussion about whether or not you think smartphones actually make us dumb, the proliferation of devices has got me thinking about the impact these devices have on IT. 

The challenge of mobile devices was particularly evident at an event I attended a few weeks ago, it was a customer advisory council meeting for a very successful regional value added reseller (VAR) in the Southeast.  The company had assembled 15 of their top customers to discuss best practices and new technologies.

By a show of hands, the greatest challenge the group faced was the explosion of end user devices and the impact the devices were having on corporate networks and on IT support.  One attendee discussed how their organization had gone so far to embrace end user choice that their company actually issues a hardware/device stipend to all new employees rather than supplying a laptop or desktop. The end user could buy the laptop, phone or pad of their choice, while IT focused on providing support and making sure their networks could handle surging amounts of traffic.

All this lead to a very lengthy discussion about Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) – (you can find some very honest and comprehensive discussions about VDI here).  VDI is a topic near and dear to Riverbed customers since at the core of the VDI concept is the explicit separation of end users from their data. And as we’ve learned from client-server applications that run over wide area networks, any time you separate end users from their data, especially over great distances, performance can really suffer, and WAN optimization technology is required to deliver the level of performance users demand.

Based on some partner and customer research I conducted earlier this year, I found that today’s most successful VDI deployments take place on local area networks (LAN), often deployed in a single facility or campus.  Education, Government agencies, and various types of financial service companies are particularly attracted to VDI’s promise of controlled, single instance data.  And while early desktop virtualization pitches promoted the cost benefits of VDI, many studies have since shown the cost benefits are minimal.  The real primary attraction of VDI is the age-old IT attraction of centralized control.

However, the challenge of VDI is most evident is over wide area networks (WAN).  If you’ve ever been frustrated by a pause in sending an e-mail or opening an application in a traditional corporate office, try sitting across a WAN from your data on a dumb terminal when you begin to experience slow or inconsistent K..EY..S.T…ROKE..S, forget it, it’s the worst. VDI over the WAN is a real challenge, which is why Riverbed is spending so much time and energy on the subject.  Today, we already optimize the Citrix ICA protocol and we help our customers optimize VMware view deployments as well using RDP optimization. 

During his keynote at Citrix Synergy in May, Citrix CEO Mark Templeton discussed a future where users would enjoy device and network independence.  I think we’re still a ways off from that, but I’m certain Riverbed will help the world get there.  Citrix

And for all my fellow BART commuters staring at your phones, just be thankful there are companies like Riverbed hard at work optimizing your corporate and public networks so you don’t miss a post, tweet, blog, text, request e-mail, video….

Did you know Worldwide smart phone shipments increased 87% in the last 12 months

 

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Posted in Application Acceleration, Bandwidth Optimization, Corporate, Mobile, Virtualization | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »