The Year of the Virtual Desktop

At the end of 2008, VMware rebranded its virtual desktop product Virtual Desktop Manager, and named it VMware View. Today, you’d know this service as VMware Horizon View. Sequel Data Systems invested heavily in training our team on this new product in anticipation of the next big wave of virtualization. 2009 was set to be “The Year of the Virtual Desktop”.

It didn’t quite end up that way; VDI was adopted at a much slower pace than server virtualization, but we put our early learning to good use. As the vendor that brings all the pieces together in a VDI project, our approach has always been a cautious one. There are a lot of moving parts to get right—from servers, storage, networking, help desk to the applications team—and we take our time to make sure that each deployment meets client expectations.

As technology improved over the years, the diversity of VDI use cases has grown so quickly that today we’re seeing an influx of projects not possible just 3 years ago. From all-flash storage to incredibly dense servers and powerful graphics cards, customers are virtualizing even the most demanding desktop workloads. While some projects we executed over the years foreshadowed what we are seeing today, it was never on this scale.

Preparing for the unexpected

We are headquartered in Austin, Texas. Our state has its share of natural disasters—from hurricanes along the coast to tornados up north, there’s plenty of inclement weather to go around. In Austin, every now and then, if it might freeze, we shut the entire city down.

With these issues in mind, there are clients who opt for VDI solutions, which allow them to work remotely if something unexpected happens. The building may survive a natural disaster, but users might not be able to access the facility. It’s a great insurance policy that organizations can put in place, but it’s been a luxury few can afford or prioritize. It makes sense though, and raises the question: Could you build virtual desktop competency in your company on the off chance something could prevent you from going to work?

Which brings us to today.

We never imagined the scale of COVID-19’s impact on all business and individuals around the world, and the massive surge in demand for work from home solutions has ranged in complexity. What we do now know is that virtual desktop technology has moved from an insurance policy initiative to a core IT competency. Like it or not, 2020 is the year of the virtual desktop.

Rolling out virtual desktop technology is not an easy project. The most difficult hurdle we see is onboarding users to the technology. IT needs to focus on teaching people how to work differently and providing a consistent user experience for people working remotely as much as possible. The good news is that once you build your virtual desktop environment, you can easily scale it and secure it.

When the dust finally settles, all businesses will have to seriously rethink their long-term approach to work environments. VDI provides technology options for businesses, and those companies most successful with remote workers will be the ones whose IT focused on helping their users be as productive as possible. Sequel Data Systems is ready to help customers take on this challenge. With 2020 as the year of the virtual desktop, we’re here to help you navigate it.

Stay safe and take care.