A few weeks ago I was casually talking with one of my enterprise clients about VDI. This client has a few VDI enabled desktops in their enterprise primarily for users who demand high powered systems for computationally intense work (it was cheaper for the company to invest in a small VDI infrastructure with powerful servers for these users than buying true high end desktops…especially since this customer makes the powerful servers themselves). My client mentioned how maybe he’ll just buy a MacBook Pro himself (a laptop he hasn’t been able to convince his employer to buy for him) and run his desktop as another VDI instance.
This is where I shot the conversation off on a tangent to talk about a friend of mine who was interviewing at a startup that expected him to buy his own laptop. The surprising thing about the startup was that they just expected him to already own a laptop that he would be willing to use for work purposes. I commented on how the future may be allowing employees to use what ever laptop they want for the work computer and the employer will just provide everyone a VDI desktop for use as their “corporate desktop”. This definitely eases the administration, security, and hardware refresh burden for the company. One would just expect some sort of stipend for the employee to go toward a personal laptop computer. (I’m purposely leaving the hardware support issue out of the conversation, but with Apple Stores proliferating this could be the outsourced hardware support for my MacBook craving client.)
So I was surprise this week when I received my latest copy of CIO magazine and found an article asking Is It Time For Employee-Provisioned Hardware Programs? Some analysts are saying that this is the next logical step in consumerization of IT, especially when you see how many non-approved smart phones, or laptops are already finding their way into corporate workplace (I’ve done this myself with my previous employeer…but that’s another story). Why fight the trend? With VDI, IT Executives can make their end users happy by letting them use whatever hardware they like, install any applications they want on the hardware (they own it, and there is only one application on the hardware that IT cares about…the VDI client). They can make their finance people happy by reducing the endless cycle of desktop hardware refreshes by using VDI to run the desktops on server hardware and use VDI to scale user’s CPU and Memory “power” as needed by the users business workload. They can also keep the security people happy by providing a locked down environment that lives in the data center.
I can see this being a total desktop solution that more and more companies will start implementing in the near future.
Let’s just hope that the hardware stipends are reasonable…