Q&A with Jim Curtin of Virtual Bridges

Jim Curtin (Profile)
Friday, May 20th 2011

VSM: You introduced VDI Gen2 late last year. Why do we need a second generation solution and what are the key differences?

JC: Like every technology adoption phenomenon, the second generation tends to be where innovation truly takes off. Railroads, personal computers, iPads… and now VDI. First generation VDI solutions established the process and the goals but also revealed some limits and core problems, including cost, complexity and coverage. Gen2 has delivered faster, more nimble, purpose-built advancements - things like integrated online, offline and branch VDI; the ability to transcend on-premises and cloud environments; and the ability to unify endpoint management. With VDI Gen2, the industry is finally starting to deliver the results customers have been looking for.

VSM: What do you mean by "integrated online, offline and branch VDI?"

JC: Today businesses operate around the clock, and employees expect their apps and data to be accessible from any location, by any device. And of course the performance must be consistent. With VDI Gen2, users experience no difference between working in the office online or in a coffee shop without connectivity. VDI Gen2 provides both connected (access to remote virtual desktop sessions) and disconnected (virtual desktop session is locally cached and executed on the client machine) access. It’s a self-contained local desktop virtualization platform that is fully secure, so there’s no need to worry about deploying and managing additional endpoint security solutions. Additionally, branch users, who often feel like forgotten step-children with unreliable access and long lag times, now experience all the benefits of local users including LAN-like performance with bi-directional sync and disaster recovery, among others.

VSM: How does VDI Gen2 work & how is it different than VDI Gen1?

JC: One of the big differences is that VDI Gen2 is purpose-built for VDI. While Gen1 solutions are usually retro-fit from server virtualization solutions, VDI Gen2 is built from the ground up for desktops.

VDI Gen2 is also built to scale. It’s tightly integrated and comes as an all-in-one solution, typically featuring a cluster server platform that includes connection brokering, desktop image management, automated provisioning and management. With the clustered architecture, there are no single points of failure and scaling-up or scaling-out is as simple as adding additional nodes to the cluster.

The interesting thing is that effective scaling isn’t just about numbers, it’s also about managing high volumes of users all accessing their desktops at the same time. We recently signed a deal with one of the largest universities in China. They reviewed VDI Gen1 solutions and found them unable to handle common situations where a large number of students would be accessing desktops concurrently, such as classroom lectures or online examinations. Instead they turned to VDI Gen2 to manage more than 30,000 desktops across multiple campuses. This is now one of the largest VDI deployments in a university setting.