Quotes of the week: VMware VDI strives to answer mobile workforce

VMworld 2012 was awash with cloud and mobile news, but desktop virtualization also took steps forward. Hear what IT pros had to say about View 5.1 and more.

VMware's end-user computing vision has IT pros talking, and the company's desktop virtualization tools are a key part of that strategy.

To get in sync with the consumerization of IT, VMware added to View 5.1 in May more mobile functionalities, plus storage and management improvements to help admins deliver virtual desktops and apps to endpoint devices. At VMworld 2012 this week, the company also demonstrated how the single image management technology it acquired from Wanova Inc. will work with View.

See what VMworld attendees and speakers had to say about VMware VDI and how desktop virtualization fits into the growing mobile workforce.

"This is a period of great disruption in the industry."
- Pat Gelsinger, soon-to-be VMware CEO

In his first VMworld keynote, new CEO Pat Gelsinger reiterated what most IT pros already know: You'll have to support and manage many different kinds of endpoints. He remarked that data center infrastructure, apps and everything else is changing all at one time.

On that note, VMware remains committed to growing the View product, Gelsinger added, to help IT better manage those desktops and devices. Improvements including storage enhancements with the View Storage Accelerator in View 5.1 up the ante.

"Even with all the work we've done [on VMware View], you're going to be offline sometimes. You're going to be a disconnected user, so how can we solve this in an interesting way?"
- Stephen Herrod, VMware CTO

To solve the problem of disconnected users, VMware will integrate View with single image management technology from Wanova. The company has tried client hypervisors and other tools to provide offline connections for VDI, Herrod said, but nothing has stuck. Wanova Mirage, however, takes "an image-centric approach," he said.

Layering technology in Mirage can decompose desktops into the different components that a user needs at different times. That allows admins to deploy Mirage to various types of hardware, keep one central image up to date and move desktops to other devices as needed -- whether physical or virtual.

"I want to stress how badass this is: One image, everywhere. Physical, virtual, and super manageable. Mirage is amazing."
- Gabe Knuth, independent industry analyst and blogger

VMware isn't the only one championing the Mirage technology. Twitter was afire during Herrod's keynote as IT pros applauded the tool's disaster recovery possibilities. In this tweet, Knuth hits on the key to disaster recovery with these products: Mirage keeps a centralized copy of the user's desktop from every device in the data center. That image can be loaded into VMware View to recover data, and you could even use a View client on a tablet, for instance, to access a lost, stolen or failed desktop.

 "Sending a Windows experience to a tablet isn't the ideal way to do it. Windows is designed for point and click. Tablets are designed for gestures."
- Gunnar Berger, end-user client analyst for Gartner, Inc.

VMware VDI hit a bump in the road with some users who said the company's Horizon Suite could out-do VDI when it comes to mobile app delivery. Accessing virtual desktops on mobile devices is still not a perfect process. As Berger notes in this quote, using a Windows desktop on a tablet is frustrating for users because the platform isn't designed for tapping and swiping.

The new suite that combines Horizon Mobile, Project Octopus and Project AppBlast could make it easier for admins to deliver desktop apps through HTML5 browsers and onto mobile devices.

"In the desktop world, things used to be easy… But as Paul Maritz used to say: A lot of other animals are entering the zoo."
- Stephen Herrod, VMware CTO

With Maritz stepping down as CEO this September, VMware pros have wondered how the company's vision might change. The desktop world may not be easy anymore, but the vendor seems determined to supply tools for improving device management in this new era -- that is, if those tools ever get here.

This was first published in August 2012

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