Throughout my time working on the View and Horizon portfolio, there has always been one driving factor for every deployment.  The desktop.  From handling the intense I/O of boot storms, to abstracting every element to achieve a non-persistent environment, to licensing of the Windows OS and applications.  Desktop, desktop, desktop!  Well, that probably isn’t going away, at least any time soon, but new additions to the Horizon and AirWatch suites are creating options that can allow us to ask. Is a desktop needed?

              We are moving deeper and deeper into the mobile workspace.  A space that is much harder to define but at the same time has much simpler requirements, that is applications.  Users have become accustomed to using their mobile devices to achieve tasks.  We are getting to a World where a user can complete a menial tasks in 15 seconds over their phone as opposed to taking 5 minutes to walk to their desk to access a desktop OS (VDI or not).  If you have ever accessed a virtual desktop over a phone or tablet, it can be a challenge to say the least accessing a full desktop OS over a small screen.  This is where the application first mentality comes into play.  If I can deliver a functional application platform that can be utilized easier over mobile devices, could this offer more flexibility than a traditional VDI implementation?  Utilizing the new Horizon View capability to create RDSH linked clones tied with App Volumes allows a RDSH environment that is as easy to tear down as a linked clone desktop pool.  AirWatch’s Project A2, AirWatch and App Volumes integration.  This allows for a device agnostic, BYOD architecture that can offer applications to devices, regardless of operating system or type.

              Of course, net every workflow and use case offers the ability to fully remove the desktop OS.  Like when Linked Clones came around, there are many benefits to getting to that design, but sometimes requirements force design compromises that make it impossible.  To touch on a few of these benefits. Application licensing, in some cases there will be applications that require a terminal server license, but I see that as far easier than the normal head ache of attempting to get all my licensing working in a non-persistent environment.  Second, OS licensing.  RDSH CAL’s do not require the same level of compliance as far as endpoints are concerned as VDA does.  For those who have not read about this, have fun, it is as complicated as you would expect out of Microsoft.  I also see more flexibility as to how resources can be added on the back end. If users are having performance problems, throw another server in the farm.  You cannot throw another desktop at a user, you normally have to expand resources for everyone, or find some fat to cut on the image.  To me the biggest benefit is embracing a true BYOD environment. You have users who prefer Mac, then they can use their Mac.  Applications are delivered to the OS looking as if they are installed and users can work on their preferred device.  As well, they can switch devices and maintain their applications and content. 

              What I see is the World of EUC and Mobility merging into a next generation EUC solution.  Breaking away from the OS silo’d model and into a range of applications.  In a way we are already there.  Many applications are offering mobile options and SaaS applications are already offering a BYOD, application anywhere, solution.  I expect users that leverage that now will demand that level of mobility for many of the applications they are using.  I feel like I have been pushing desktops to replace remote applications for years and now I am trying to talk people back into remote apps. I imagine that somehow in the future, I will be writing a blog talking about the merits of going back to the desktop.