Hosted desktop solutions seem to be gaining mind share and rack space these days, and with good reason. There are many positives to this type of architecture. Centralized administration, upgrade, management, and backup just to name a few.
But a drawback is most companies must build a new infrastructure or greatly expand their current hardware to host all the back end desktops. Discretionary IT dollars are a thing of the past so a solution must be absolutely better and less expensive to make wide scale changes. It needs to be in order to unseat whatever is in place. And if it is more expensive, it must have a spectacular upside, something that is of real value to the IT department so they are willing to part with the extra money because it is genuinely worth it.
I worked with a school on a hosted desktop solution once that really wasn’t hosted. They had tried server-based computing but it didn’t meet the needs of their graphically intense lab users. So with one 3U server (and internal storage) they will be able to meet the need of having 6 different desktop workloads available on demand to these users. Each end point computer runs the workload assigned to it using the local CPU and Memory, all from a single disk image that is on the server. This one 3U server could support hundreds of end point machines so you can see we don’t need a giant scaled out back end infrastructure. We don’t even need a hypervisor on the client or the server side.
I think that this is a pretty cool way to give the end user the power of local machine performance and we as administrators get one image to manage on a single windows server. Not very complicated. A second windows server adds HA and failover. Drag and drop image updates and upgrades. And no compromising info has to live on the end point device. So you can use your existing hardware on the desktop to accomplish this. As desktops fail you simple replace them with a thin client.
While I am sure that it will be cool, we don’t have to wait for the client side hypervisor. When it gets here your current desktop hardware probably won’t support it. You could use this type of solution in any environment. It can work with hypervisors if you have them, we can even get remote users connected. That’s another thing I like about it, you can leverage this solution in so many different ways.
Some people think that VDI is complicated and expensive. It doesn’t have to be. Let me know what you think.