Brian Madden, Gabe Knuth and Jack Madden Change Outlook on VDI in New Book – The New VDI Reality

Today at BriForum London, the release of Brian Madden, Gabe Knuth and Jack Madden’s new book was announced.

The new book titled The New VDI Reality: How the Biggest Barriers to VDI Adoption Have Finally Been Solved and What This Means for the Future of the Enterprise Desktop – is the second edition to their March 2012 book titled The VDI Delusion: Why Desktop Virtualization Failed to Live Up to the Hype, and What the Future Enterprise Desktop will Really Look Like, which was widely considered to be the definitive book on VDI and desktop virtualization strategy.

When Brian, Gabe and Jack wrote The VDI Delusion, it caused quite an uproar in the VDI community and challenged a lot of the hype and unrealistically positive outlook that many vendors were painting about VDI. Brian recently blogged “we now have the technology to address two of the major showstopper issues for VDI” with 1) the introduction of storage technology to support persistent (1-to-1) disk images and 2) GPU-based graphics improvements for support of most apps. The New VDI Reality book was written to explain how these two technological innovations have lowered the cost and improved the user experience of persistent VDI to the point where they can now be better than physical PCs.

Excerpts from The New VDI Reality book:

It’s been a little over a year since we published the first edition of this book, called The VDI Delusion. While I’m incredibly proud of that book, in hindsight I’m not sure if we picked the best title. Calling it The VDI Delusion scared many people away as they thought it was a book about VDI haters and that we were anti-VDI. (And with a title like that, who could blame them?)

By the way, let’s take another moment to remind you that we’re not VDI haters. We actually love VDI! (Seriously!) What we don’t like is when VDI gets a bad name when it fails because people try to use it for the wrong reasons. So we’re hoping that by sharing real-world examples of how other people have failed with VDI, you’ll be able to avoid these situations and (1) only use VDI where it makes sense, and (2) be very successful with it!

Since the first edition of this book was published last year, there have been two major technological innovations that have changed the game for a lot of VDI deployments. The first is around storage. We always argued that VDI had to be about persistent “1-to-1” disk images, but doing so with traditional server storage was prohibitively expensive…The second major breakthrough of the past year has been in the area of graphics performance, specifically the fact that multiple vendors now have plug-in cards for your remote VDI servers that can offload the processing, encoding, and compression of the remote protocol display streams.

Taken together, these improvements in storage and graphics capabilities mean that VDI is now applicable in far more situations than it was before. This sentiment is corroborated by the number of large (more than 10,000 seat) deployments we’ve seen kick off this year.

The good news around costs and VDI is that thanks to Moore’s Law, desktop economies of scale can be realized more quickly in the datacenter. While we already discussed the fact that Moore’s Law also applies to traditional desktops, much of those costs are wrapped up in the metal box and the power supply and the wires and the logistics of designing, marketing, selling, and delivering a $300 desktop. But when it comes to the datacenter, you can almost literally buy twice the computing power (which cuts the cost of a desktop in half) every 18 months, yet the “goal” of desktop virtualization doesn’t move nearly that often.

As we briefly mentioned in the previous chapter, Windows 7 was released four years ago, and the requirements (in terms of CPU MIPS, IOPS, graphics power, etc.) for delivering a good Windows 7 experience haven’t changed since then. What has changed was that dedicating enough datacenter resources to create a good Windows 7 experience now costs 1/5th of what it did in 2009. In practical terms this doesn’t mean that we’re doing VDI in 2013 for 1/5th of the cost of VDI in 2009, rather, it means that today we’re using roughly the same amount of money but delivering a vastly improved VDI experience that can actually rival a physical desktop. In other words, $500 of VDI in 2013 can deliver something that users actually want to use!

In terms of calculating cost savings and looking at cost models, this means that we can finally do a more true “apples-to-apples” comparison of the product we’re delivering (VDI versus traditional) and the costs to deliver it. All of the cost model caveats still apply of course, but at least now we have the option of delivering a worse user experience by going to VDI. (Previously it was mandatory.)

The ideal 1-to-1 VDI environment is an environment where each VDI desktop has its own personal, unique disk image. So if you have 150 desktop VMs on a VDI host, then we’d want to see 150 separate VMDK files on that host—one for each user. Like we said earlier, building a VDI environment like that would be the most like your existing desktop environment.

Get this new book free from Atlantis Computing and Devon IT

Atlantis Computing and Devon IT have sponsored the distribution of free copies of the New VDI Reality book for the next three months. You can get a free copy of the book in either PDF or Kindle version at, by visiting the Atlantis Computing stand #12 at BriForum London, or by stopping by the Atlantis Computing booth #407 or Devon IT booth #304 at Citrix Synergy Los Angeles taking place May 22 – 24, 2013 at the Anaheim Convention Center. Atlantis Computing and Devon IT will also be giving away a free Kindle with The New VDI Reality book each day at Citrix Synergy.

The free version has an added Introduction: How the biggest barriers to VDI adoption have finally been solved and a concluding chapter titled The Ideal VDI Environment: A Deeper Look at Persistent (1-to-1) VDI written by Atlantis Computing and Devon IT that explain how rethinking storage and thin clients for persistent VDI can overcome the cost, scalability, user experience and complexity challenges that have prevented VDI from living up to the hype.

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