2012 Prediction: Liquidware Labs
The Changing Face of the Desktop in 2012
At this time every year, we folk in IT get asked to make predictions about what will transpire next year. While I would like to spout off that Kim Kardashian will marry yet again (yes, in 2012 – making it an annual event), Lady Gaga will confuse everybody by changing her look to normal, and a stupendous miracle will occur and the Chicago Bears will win the Super Bowl, the Virtual-Strategy guys want me to stick to desktops & virtualization, and… maybe that is better. So… okay… I will and here we go.
First and foremost, and – this actually may be more of a wish instead of a prediction -- the media – and some bloggers, (you know who you are!) -- will finally stop writing that VDI is a bust. It’s not… there are thousands of companies, government agencies and academic institutions that have weathered the steep learning curve and actually have virtual desktops implemented for some segment of their users and plan to do more. Quite a few have even launched the nirvana of non-persistent desktops with persistent user personalization. And to an individual, the customers I have spoken to say – once they got it right – it is well worth the time, effort and cost – if only because they can easily provision a fresh new desktop to a user in a heartbeat if there is a problem. Obviously, we at Liquidware Labs™ have a desktop transformation methodology backed up by a solution set, and we have helped many customers ‘get it right’ very, very quickly.
So growth for the virtualized desktop market will continue its upward trend. Factors promoting use include more affordable and ‘smarter’ storage. And, as companies adopt new technologies—such as open and flexible user-virtualization solutions—and implement user-installed application strategies, such as Liquidware Labs ProfileUnity™ with FlexApp™, another significant barrier to adoption will fall away, and desktop virtualization will become increasingly commonplace.
A huge factor driving companies to consider virtual desktops is the impending end of Windows XP (2014) and the need to migrate to a new OS. And guess what? Everyone I know who has actually lived through one, said that wholesale migrations are a nightmare and they would do just about anything to avoid it. In the physical world, (and I am GREATLY OVERSIMPLIFYING this) the process starts with inventorying your applications, making sure they can work on the new OS, creating a master image and then going desktop to desktop (for existing desktops) to get the new image on the hardware, and then restoring user settings, personalization and data. You’ll need to decide which hardware to retire and provision new hardware as required. This process is time-consuming, manually intensive and fraught with potential snafus. There are ways to automate the process, but that typically means buying more expensive software that needs additional backend systems as well. And the worst part is users and their managers whining and/or yelling at you the entire time because they want their PCs now!!