While we watch the whole world jump into virtualization with both feet, VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) is a logical step. In a nutshell, this is a wide-ranging term essentially describing the method of using a virtualization environment to run desktops that are then presented to end-users via thin or fat clients. It's yet another way to try to slay the one-physical-desktop-per-user beast.
I am fairly positive toward VDI in general, unlike Randy Kennedy, but it's still a very new technology, albeit one that borrows heavily from more mature technologies like RDP and virtualization itself. That said, there are a number of things I'd like to see from VDI vendors in the near future:
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1) Give me Windows 7 support. Now.
Yes, I know it's still beta, but this should be an imperative. Just about every VDI pilot is proceeding with Windows XP desktops, and Vista is already an orphan. If that means that Windows 7 is where everyone jumps when XP finally dies, then fine. But I need to pilot Windows 7 now. Otherwise, the fundamental differences between sysprep and image management on XP and Windows 7 will force me to run another pilot in the not-too-distant future. That's not feasible.
2) Give me ready-to-go PXE clients
Yes, ideally every user will be running a low-power diskless thin client in a full VDI build, but gee, I have hundreds of workstations that can function as higher-power thin clients now. They also have the added benefit of being full workstations in an emergency. I need to leverage that investment, especially in an economy where IT dollars are shrinking. So let me do both quickly and easily -- give me a PXE client. That way, all I have to do is change the boot order on my workstations and boot them straight to a VDI login.
There are ways to do this now by using open source tools like Thinstation and a mishmash of browsers in kiosk mode, the Java plugin, or the VMware View client shoehorned onto a Thinstation build (Note: The next version of Thinstation should have the open client as a default option!), but they're not as hardened as they should be. Also, the VMware View Open Client is a wonderful thing, but it doesn't support sound and USB redirection, which leads me to....