It began so innocently. While installing a new ESXi server and checking on a few racks of gear in a remote office, the office manager asked me politely if I could set up a workstation for the new intern. I haven't set up a workstation in many, many moons, but as "the IT guy," I was the obvious candidate. I smiled and said, "No problem."
After 45 minutes, two "perfectly good, just imaged" workstations, a bad patch cable, a Windows Active Directory computer object/SID overlap, and a slight headache from bumping my head on the desk, the XP workstation was finally up and on the network -- with the intern standing behind me the whole time. "Annoyed" is far too simple a term to accurately convey my mood.
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VDI would be perfect, except ...
Even more annoying and ironic, there was a perfectly good VDI pilot project running at the main datacenter. Well, "perfectly good," as in it's as good as VDI can get for the moment. Unfortunately, VDI is caught in a perfect storm of bad news.
One might think that the economy would be good for VDI. After all, it's supposed to save money, right? Well, yeah: over the course of a few years, following the initial purchase and implementation costs. But now really isn't the best time for many companies to be spending loads of dough on a new and relatively unproven desktop delivery mechanism. And yes, it will eventually save money, but you need to leverage what you currently have. Spending $300 or so on a thin client for every user will raise some eyebrows when you can get full-on desktop systems for the same money, without the expensive back-end infrastructure.
Also, VDI promises to save time and effort -- as long as your users don't need to use any form of multimedia or Flash-based applications. While many vendors have introduced relatively solid sideband video delivery tools to evade the nastiness that is video over RDP, these tools generally cost more, as do the thin clients that can use them.