“The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” – Mark Twain
VDI has had more ups and downs than a struggling comedian. In the early 2000s, VDI was on its way to conquering enterprise. By the end of the last decade, VDI was as passe as Windows 3.1. In 2014, VDI is back with a vengeance. VDI owes its resurgence to Android and iOS, the world’s two most important operating systems today. The gods of history are laughing – what didn’t work on desktops works like a charm on mobile. In this article, I will cover the roller coaster ride of VDI and why its surprise comeback matters to enterprise IT.
Modern VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) began in 1999 with VMWare. IT departments were thrilled at the idea of a central data center or server handling and maintaining the critical data while employees worked on thin clients. It was a dream come true; only things didn’t quite work out that way.
VDI is like a star quarterback who never made it to the Superbowl. Like a top athlete, VDI was missing vital resources that would have pushed it to the top. What went wrong?
At first, IT managers thought they could transfer their Microsoft desktop licenses to the server. Microsoft and its army of lawyers did not make this easy. Transferring Microsoft Office from a desktop to the server took hours and wasn’t necessarily cost free. Anyone who thinks that the worst bureaucracy stories are all about government has never dealt with IT licensing.
Secondly, the VDI server hardware requirements were astronomical. It demanded a lot of hardware on the data center side. Eventually, IT managers and CFOs realized “what’s the point of having a thin client connecting to a fat server?!”
Fast forward to 2014.
Now there is a new mega challenge for IT – mobile security. Surprisingly, VDI is the perfect solution to a very modern problem. BYOD has much more complex security challenges because devices are not locked down in the office. When you add VDI to BYOD, you end up with zero data on the device, which solves BYOD’s most pressing problem. BYOD gave new life to VDI and it is amazing how these two acronyms are solving a huge enterprise challenge.
Like in an OSCAR winning action movie, VDI leaps from the shadows and saves the day at the last minute! Modern VDI offers huge advantages, solving all of its past problems.
VDI’s New Cape
For starters, modern VDI is based on Android, an open source operating system. Android is free and so is its most popular document editing suite, Quickoffice. This removes Microsoft and its lawyers from the picture. No license, no problems.
Second of all, unlike Windows, Android is a fresh, new operating system which handles hardware resources much better than its 90s cousins. IT managers can put 10 users where 1 used to sit in the enterprise data center. Every Android VDI user takes up 10% the space of the legacy VDI components.
VDI + BYOD = Nubo! Nubo is VDI on Android and it works on iOS as well. The Nubo client is thin and runs on almost every version of Android and iOS. The app takes seconds to download. IT retains all of the benefits it expects from a VDI environment – one centralized server that maintains all of the data and thin clients which hold zero data.
VDI never died, it was just waiting for mobile technology all these years!