Brian Madden in London

Brian Madden was speaking at a Quest Desktop Virtualisation event at the Landmark Hotel in London on Tuesday so I went along to listen. (Nice hotel by the way). Brian is as entertaining and thought provoking as ever and here are a few extracts from notes I jotted down.

  • Why is everyone interested in virtualisation now? Because it’s sexy!
  • Corporate strategy is to buy loads of physical boxes every few years. They are very good at it now.
  • Windows  XP is very old.
  • Desktop virtualisation uses various technologies, not all of which include hypervisors.
  • Virtualisation definition: separating the O/S from the device.
  • Desktop virtualisation is hard (it’s official). Why because you’re dealing with users and they’re all different.
  • Wouldn’t it be great to share out one disk image.
  • Six months ago talked about the layer cake model. It does not work. Layering incompatabilities.
  • Type 2 hypervisors are actually quite good. Users can keep their device and VM can be locked down.
  • At Techtarget office they use type 2 on laptops.
  • VDI versus TS. VDI more expensive. Most of what you can do with VDI you can do with TS.

One set of slides that stuck in my mind were the “Shit!” and “Yay!” ones. People saying “Shit!” are users (mostly) and VMware, Citrix. People saying “Yay!” are Microsoft (and virtualisation consultants). This is because you cannot get away from Microsoft apps and Microsoft apps need a Microsoft O/S to run. And that O/S has a built in registry which makes turns the whole package into a “brick”. This is the historical legacy we live with. The technology has, and does, evolve rapidly making many new architectures possible. But the inertia of big business and the desire to keep doing the tried and tested method (operations people hate change) means we have to carry around a large ball and chain (like we read a scroll of punishment).

There is of course a new breed of app which lives in the cloud, (dropbox was mentioned) and it is impossible for corporations to stop people using that stuff. Ultimately it is all about the apps and I am sure that a tipping point will occur when there is sufficient functionality in “cloud” on demand apps to run a business with. The younger generation, it was pointed out, are the first to have grown up with computers and this technically savvy generation will be a force for change.

In the meantime, to realise the benefits of the technologies now at our disposal, we have to continue designing and implementing extremely complex systems to bridge the software generations. There are lots of 16 bit dependencies out there, which in itself is a case for virtualisation because the latest operating systems won’t run them and they won’t die.

So, the best way to run new apps is in a virtual environment and the best way to run old apps is in a virtual environment.

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