In The Year 2000: VDI Will Replace The PC

Ok, I meant in the year 2009 … err … 2010 … err … 2011 … hmm … maybe 2012?  Some of you might remember back to 1998 or thereabouts when the PC was doomed by the return to mainframe style computing based on WinFrame MetaFrame (aka Presentation Server, XenApp).  Somehow or other, that didn’t happen.  Instead, a few companies did go for this style of server based computing based on Terminal Services Remote Desktop Services Session Hosts – seriously Microsoft, can we just call them Terminal Servers once again?

A decade later, virtual desktop infrastructure was to call time on the PC in the business.  Endless new years forecasts, and a heap of VMware marketing, promised us this would happen in 2010.  Then it would happen in 2011.  I’m betting that come December 2012 the forecasts will once gain proclaim that the coming year will be The Year Of The Virtual Desktop.  Pfft!  Just like this year was, and the year before.

Like I’ve been saying for a couple of years, VDI is a false economy.  Costs go up when you move from the desk to the data centre, and you’re just moving the management problem from one place to another, and adding the need to add more management and lock down to the end user desktop experience – and that’s the last thing the customer (we in IT are in a service business and the business/user is our customer *throws up just a little bit*) wants right now (see Consumerisation of IT).

An article in Network World sums this "year of virtual desktop” claptrap up nicely.  My opinion, and what the local MSFT folks here have been saying too, is that VDI is part of the overall solution, just like *breath in* Remote Desktop Services Session Hosts *gasp for air – I’m sure glad I don’t have emphysema*.

So the next time you see a forecast telling you that the coming year will be the year of VDI (I think they’ve pretty much moved to The Year Of The Cloud these days) or you hear a VMware sales/marketing person telling you that the PC is dead, you know it’s time to either move on, or walk outside to the free coffee in the hall outside.

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