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back to article VMware to cut desktop storage by 80 per cent

VMware is rebranding its Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) technology as VMware View, and having virtual desktops built from a generic golden master and user-specific files that cut VDI storage space by up to 80 per cent. According to Jocelyn Goldfein, VMware's global manager for its desktop business, the vClient initiative, …

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Pirate

USB Endpoints connect to a Desktop VM?

Hmm... what could go wrong there?

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Similar idea to Sun's smart card setup

Centralized server that stores your session, accessible from thin clients. Sounds very familiar to Sun's project a number of years ago. Plug your smart card into a thin client connected to the network, and your desktop and files popup for you to use, just as you left it before. The portability between platforms is big difference here, but that was more McNealy's stubbornness than limitation of the technology.

This is nothing new. Just rehashed with a shiny new label on it, and the trendy tag of "virtualization". The same problems that existed with the ASCII terminal, and every thin client before this, will still exist on this one.

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Secure Global Desktop

"The idea of a user jetting around the globe and then wanting to fire up their own desktop environment on a PC or thin client in an office they are visiting..."

You mean, like Sun's Secure Global Desktop?

http://www.sun.com/software/products/sgd/index.jsp

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Compensation for IT/MSFT incompetence

This has been the sysadmin norm with Unix (and linuxes) for 10+ years now. Standardised build, NIS (ldap in newer installs), automount for $HOME, automount for common software distribution mounts and off it goes.

Dear Vmware and Windows, the 90-es called, mind picking up the phone?

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Happy

So whats new?

Any well run corporate environment will set up the user profiles so that the workstation disks have software and temp files only. All the users files and configuration will be on a network drive.

This gets more complex for laptops, where files are replicated to the network drive and synched everytime the laptop connects to the corporate network. But vmware will have the same or worse problems here.

Sorry vmware but the "problem" was solved years ago.

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Pirate

Pats. Pending?

This is yet another "non innovation" purely the technical advances made in recent years allow for something that has been around like forever. The fiddling with linked clones was possible for advanced users since their inception. What this does is making the stuff accessible to the "mainstream" meaning you'll get nice support package for a premium.

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Gates Horns

Interesting?

Didn't see anything about this setup supporting "rich media" applications, y'know, the kind of stuff HQ like to put on the corporate Intranet these days, webcasts and the like. In fact quite the reverse, seemingly it doesn't do VoIP out of the box (which may rule it out of some VoIP-centric applications). Surely there couldn't possibly be a practical reason why you couldn't do this? And obviously there's no reason to reject this just because you can't do Flash/Youtube/etc, right?

"changes can be made to the single golden master which, effectively, alter all the VDIs instantly"

Good job the underlying desktop OS is secure and not vulnerable to malware then; you couldn't possibly allow a bit of malware to accidentally or otherwise use this as a propagation vector.

If you want mainframe-style centralisation and distributedness, desktop cost control, and information security (and what sensible company board wouldn't, after over a decade of consistently embarrassing IT Department overspend and failure to deliver), sometimes mainframes might be the right answer, rather than band-aiding demonstrably failed technology (especially if you use the word mainframe in its broadest sense).

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Silver badge

Desktop virtualization?

I can see this being useful for development (where it's already widely deployed), but for road warriors? Surely Citrix is a much simpler/cheaper solution to provide a roaming user environment, with the advantage that it can easily be run from third party devices - such as an Internet café or a shared desktop in an airport lounge.

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Reinventing the wheel ... once more, with marketing

Every single one of these things already exists. Just not with VM's market share. Personally I'll just be curious to see whether they actually learn from what's currently available or whether they'll just repeat the last half-decade's learning curve.

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Happy

All well and good buy....

...all VMWare have right now is a collection of vapourware. They needs to start delivering some of this in a comprehensive package that businesses can actually deploy, and soon! Citrix are ahead of them in delivering so they better get a move on - if they can come up with something better than Citrix's hopelessly overpriced licensing models they might be on a winner.

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Happy

Ahhh, so that was the product launch!

Not much actually, you can enable or disable things as you see fit. It's useful, you can synch your iPod should you so desire but as you can separate user and OS data into different locations within VDI you're pretty safe against viruses. Add a few thinstall apps and you're away with a tiny tiny footprint. And, let's face it, if you make your users local admin without thinking then you've got more problems than this!

On another note, now I know what all these journalists were doing around our office yesterday. I was the VMware techie eyeing up the snack buffet they had :)

Go VMware!

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Stop

So....

This gives you the functionality that Unix based X clients have had for years with the extra danger of a golden image corruption, unsure hardware support and you still need to buy desktop OS images and CALs.

Genius. What else will they be working on next? A wheel that only works 20% of the time?

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Silver badge

The whole concept breaks down if you're actually mobile.

For example - I'm currently in a hotel in Egypt. Internet is available if I log into the website everything initially diverts to and pay for it.

If my computer was 'just' a thin client, I wouldn't be able to type this.

So it only works if your users are completely office-based, in the same complex as your server.

The idea is probably ideal for hot-desking environments, but it's useless for anybody that travels - that probably also includes travel between offices, because the system will be ludicrously slow across the Internet. (A single USB 1.1 root hub is faster than the Internet...)

In other words, these 'travelling desktops' only work if you don't actually travel.

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Pirate

VMware can't sell for brown-smelly-stuff

What an awful way to push VDI! It just makes it look like a thin-client replacement or Sun's Global Desktop, and if they sell it like that it will be a great big fail becasue just about no-one wants either of those. Most companies have realised that if you want to make a user truly mobile, give them a laptop. It's simple, it works, and the security issues can be avoided with secure logins, secure VPNs, automatic disk encryption, user education, etc. Laptops are cheap, they don't need oodles of new technology and - unlike the Sun offering - you get to keep all your old Office apps and they work! Even if you lose a few laptops a year, it costs much less to replace them than the license costs for most of these "virtual desktop" solutions.

Where VDI should be pushed is to replace static desktops, not mobile users. It will allow you to thin out their desktops and hopefully lengthen the time between desktop upgrades, allow users to move between desks without haveing to change anything, and yet give centralised control via the datacenter servers holding the image and apps. With fast internal networking this makes sense - trying to do it to mobile devices over even broadband is a joke. A remote user with a laptop is still productive even without a connection into the core - a "virtualised desktop" user without a link is dead in the water.

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Unix Scmunix

What's the point in banging on about Unix having had this capability for 300 years? Businesses run on a WIn32 platform - that's what VMWare is delivering to. Is it a 'my Dad's older than your Dad' argument?

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Anonymous Coward

Does take much to read a posted link Ewen

to get more information :

From the link AC posed :

http://www.sun.com/software/products/sgd/index.jsp

Sun Secure Global Desktop Software provides secure access to centralized Windows, UNIX/Linux, Mainframe and Midrange applications from a wide range of popular client devices, including Microsoft Windows PCs, Solaris OS Workstations, thin clients and more.

I bet the MS sales people love you....

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Gates Halo

"Windows - that's what VMware is delivering to"

Except they're not.

PCs have become popular, initially because they were perceived as cheap. Now sensible business people have realised that while the box may have been cheap, that wasn't necessarily the whole story. Is VMware cheap?

Windows PCs have remained popular in coprorates partly because they have been flexible. Centrally-dictated "golden images" remove that flexibility, therefore another factor in favour of Windows goes away. But hey, it keeps costs down, right?

Windows PCs have remained popular in corporates partly because they've been used as playthings (whether or not the business approved of it, it happened). VDI loses that, not just because the stuff isn't on the "golden image", but because they're declining to do "rich media" (eg VoIP) at all. But hey, it keeps costs down, right?

So VDI addresses some of the perceived issues with Windows PCs (cost, security, manageability), in return for losing pretty much all the end-user-perceived historic benefits by returning control to the IT department rather than the end luser.

If you want the benefits of a mainframe (which, defined loosely, could easily include a Sun smartcard solution), why not use a real mainframe ? If you want the flexibility of a PC, use a PC - but most PCs are a very poor return on investment, especially right now in the pre-Windows 9, post-"credit crunch" era.

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Flame

@The whole concept breaks down if you're actually mobile.

Try reading the product brief before flaming ol' chap!!

As it happens VDI is capable of syncing to a portable VMplayer installation on a laptop for remote users and the thin clients that we have here in the office (XP embedded and otherwise) all incorporate a browser for that initial connection. So you're wrong. Twice.

If you use SVI to sync your desktop to a player image when you're not in the office then you also get the benefit of a full backup of you're desktop on the office server should anything happen. It can also diff the changes to enable you to make small updates to your server image whilst on the road. This also gives you a security "silver bullet" as player is as secure as you want it to be and removing the laptop's hard drive won't necessarily help you to get at the data. Forget bitlocker!

So there, it's rather neat actually and the latest 3.0 version does a lot of cool stuff like this SVI and in-build de-dupe by storing user and OS data separately and rolling a fresh OS for you everytime you login.

Hell, of course I'm biased but I've used Citrix before and this is much easier. Take it with a pinch of salt but try it if you can.

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Support VDI

Hi guys,

i'm sharing some information here but i've spent agess searching for a good support company which knows about VDI technologies. i found one which is great, if your interested in support, or even getting advice or getting a app hosted etc then visit their website. www.vdi.me.

Like i said i'm just sharing my experiences.

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Coat

Bryant

"What an awful way to push VDI! It just makes it look like a thin-client replacement or Sun's Global Desktop, and if they sell it like that it will be a great big fail becasue just about no-one wants either of those. Most companies have realised that if you want to make a user truly mobile, give them a laptop."

Seriously, your ignorance is astonishing.

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Happy

Its madness I tell you.....

"Seriously, your ignorance is astonishing." - Actually, that level of ignorance is amazingly common; even so, surely nobody seriously believes that laptops are the best solution for all the problems enterprises have around desktop management?

Nice to see some predictable mad ranting along the lines of "if you want it to behave like a mainframe, use a b'**dy mainframe!". What an excellent idea - shouldn't take more than a few days to get these 3500 windows apps running on the big blue box ;-))

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Boffin

RE: Anonymous Coward

"....Seriously, your ignorance is astonishing." Well, your response is just brimming with eloquent technical insight - not! I actually use and appreciate VMWare products like ESX and see the value of VDI when applied to a desktop fleet on a corporate LAN, but for VMware's Jocelyn Goldfein to state that it will allow a user to seamlessly move from desktop to mobile netbook is just too much. Citirx kind of does it, but then if you've used Citrix (and I have, we still do, and I like the product) you will know it involves compromises even with high-speed broadband. And Citrix has a lot of advantages in its ICA protocol design that VMware is not even close to matching, which means user frustration levels will be off the chart. Much as I support the idea of VDI/View for the LAN desktop, I would seriously question the suggestion of trying to use it remotely.

Now, unless you can actually formulate a reply with a technical argument, kindly go suck a thin client.

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Happy

Nice try, Troll Bryant

but I ain't taking the bait :)

Matter of fact, I'm wondering if you actually are in IT at all...most of your rhetoric seems to have been pulled off advertising brochures, and your constant use of words like "Sunshiners" leads me to believe that you are, in fact, 14 years old :)

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Happy

Still waiting for technical response, not holding my breath.

Well, it's no surprise you post as AC, I've realised now that what you actually must be objecting to is my dissing the Sunray product in my original post - you Sunshiners just can't sit still if someone says anything not to your liking about anything Sun. No wonder you can't supply a technical response about VMware View, you work with Slowaris! You have no experience of working outside of your narrow productset. What a surprise - not! If anyone is acting like a fourteen-year-old (or younger, I woudln't want to insult 14-year-olds) it is you Sunshiners and your kneejerk insultive reflex to anyone that you disagree with. No doubt you'll deny the complete lack of penetration of Sunray into anywhere other than Sun's own buildings? Want to compare market figures against even Mac desktops?

I suggest you try a product outside your tiny remit, you'll be surprised. It may even enhance your employability as Sun slides off the map. I would recommend VMware ESX as a starter as you'll find there is much more call for it in the real world than there is for Slowaris or Sunray skills. Of course, you'll have to learn a modern, popular, x64 OS to be homed on the ESX, so best forget Slowaris and learn some Linux or Windoze. Now that should have you choking up with froth!

/Chuckle, chuckle, chuckle!

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