Common paths to VDI?



  • One of the major tasks to that I would like to tackle where I work is VDI. This is more of an exploratory question. I have a mix bag of virtual environments, such as Hyper-V for my ERP system (can't really touch that) and VMware for house servers. Not really set on either environment.

    What avenues does one go from normal laptops and desktops to full VDI with zero-client terminals?



  • @nerdydad A non-windows environment to start. Also, yes, I'm biased and admit as much.



  • @travisdh1 said in Common paths to VDI?:

    @nerdydad A non-windows environment to start. Also, yes, I'm biased and admit as much.

    I would expect as such from you.



  • Is there any software whatsoever in this place that requires Windows? Is there any service being provided to users that requires Windows on either end? Does the product that's being made at your place require Windows or is it being built with Windows tools (ex. MS Visual Studio)? If anything is yes, is there an equivalent and supported Linux alternative?



  • @tim_g said in Common paths to VDI?:

    Is there any software whatsoever in this place that requires Windows? Is there any service being provided to users that requires Windows on either end? Does the product that's being made at your place require Windows or is it being built with Windows tools (ex. MS Visual Studio)? If anything is yes, is there an equivalent and supported Linux alternative?

    Heavily Windows. It would be too much shock to the users to get them switched to a Linux desktop distro.



  • @nerdydad said in Common paths to VDI?:

    @tim_g said in Common paths to VDI?:

    Is there any software whatsoever in this place that requires Windows? Is there any service being provided to users that requires Windows on either end? Does the product that's being made at your place require Windows or is it being built with Windows tools (ex. MS Visual Studio)? If anything is yes, is there an equivalent and supported Linux alternative?

    Heavily Windows. It would be too much shock to the users to get them switched to a Linux desktop distro.

    I doubt that if using Cinnamon GUI... and they are coming from Win7/Win10. There's really no difference, except if they are used to clicking the "Blue E" for internet... now they click Firefox or Chrome (if they don't already). Use Ansible or Salt to stick Desktop icons named "Email", "Internet", etc...

    If the only reason is because "...well the users are used to Windows desktop...", I don't think that's really a reason to keep spending so many thousands of dollars on Windows licensing and associated costs.

    But if you have a big product and it's drivers, programs, UI, everything related to the product already done and locked in with Windows decades ago (like Scott's MS Visual Studio video mentions) where a complete switch would be impossible, then I fully understand.



  • @tim_g said in Common paths to VDI?:

    @nerdydad said in Common paths to VDI?:

    @tim_g said in Common paths to VDI?:

    Is there any software whatsoever in this place that requires Windows? Is there any service being provided to users that requires Windows on either end? Does the product that's being made at your place require Windows or is it being built with Windows tools (ex. MS Visual Studio)? If anything is yes, is there an equivalent and supported Linux alternative?

    Heavily Windows. It would be too much shock to the users to get them switched to a Linux desktop distro.

    I doubt that if using Cinnamon GUI... and they are coming from Win7/Win10. There's really no difference, except if they are used to clicking the "Blue E" for internet... now they click Firefox or Chrome (if they don't already). Use Ansible or Salt to stick Desktop icons named "Email", "Internet", etc...

    If the only reason is because "...well the users are used to Windows desktop...", I don't think that's really a reason to keep spending so many thousands of dollars on Windows licensing and associated costs.

    But if you have a big product and it's drivers, programs, UI, everything related to the product already done and locked in with Windows decades ago (like Scott's MS Visual Studio video mentions) where a complete switch would be impossible, then I fully understand.

    That's good to note and I appreciate the information, but kind of off topic. Question is more of how to deploy VDI.

    Need a virtualization environment of course. Possibly thin client terminals with a golden base image to apply updates to then have thins copy from. I get the concepts, but what are the avenues to deploying it?



  • @travisdh1 said in Common paths to VDI?:

    @nerdydad A non-windows environment to start. Also, yes, I'm biased and admit as much.

    If you don't have Windows, what good does VDI do you?



  • For Windows VDI you have a crazy array of choices. Hyper-V, XenServer, and VMware all offer big VDI packages, plus there are loads of third parties. Plus you can roll your own.



  • I run two VMware Horizon environments for two companies. My advice is… avoid VDI. At any cost.
    The only scenario in which it makes sense is a security-tight environment (banks, military, government, strong NDA etc.).
    For ANY other case, just use proper management tools, desktop imaging etc.

    The VDI is a land full of pain, believe me.



  • well. I've started considering VDI even for my current company: aroud 42 seats, expanding.

    But then I've started condisering: why VDI rather than RDP services?! still don't know the answer, because I've not digged in enough, but, mind that you can also do RDP services before VDI.

    And I'm talking windows, not linux.



  • @matteo-nunziati said in Common paths to VDI?:

    well. I've started considering VDI even for my current company: aroud 42 seats, expanding.

    But then I've started condisering: why VDI rather than RDP services?! still don't know the answer, because I've not digged in enough, but, mind that you can also do RDP services before VDI.

    And I'm talking windows, not linux.

    This has always been the rule. RDS before VDI. VDI should only be discussed when RDS can't be done. VDI is the "virtualization of last resort".



  • @scottalanmiller about RDS. I'm still trying to understand the licence costs. you need RPC cals AND standard cals?! or is it just one? also how do you pay for apps, like office?! just enter the account per user and get your office 365 licence or is it way more complex/expensive?!



  • @matteo-nunziati said in Common paths to VDI?:

    @scottalanmiller about RDS. I'm still trying to understand the licence costs. you need RPC cals AND standard cals?! or is it just one? also how do you pay for apps, like office?! just enter the account per user and get your office 365 licence or is it way more complex/expensive?!

    Nothing replaces the need for a Server CAL. RDS CALs are needed for users taht use RDS functionality. So you need both for users that use RDS.



  • Software licensing is up to each individual package. RDS doesn't define any of that.



  • @nerdydad said in Common paths to VDI?:

    What avenues does one go from normal laptops and desktops to full VDI with zero-client terminals?

    In my limited knowledge which I also freely admit, I understand that economically it doesn't make sense unless you have at least 400-600 workstations. That's my understanding anyway and if I'm wrong I wont be offended if anyone corrects me.



  • @jmoore said in Common paths to VDI?:

    @nerdydad said in Common paths to VDI?:

    What avenues does one go from normal laptops and desktops to full VDI with zero-client terminals?

    In my limited knowledge which I also freely admit, I understand that economically it doesn't make sense unless you have at least 400-600 workstations. That's my understanding anyway and if I'm wrong I wont be offended if anyone corrects me.

    It's not really a number thing. I mean it is to some degree, but not really. VDI is all about things being broken, not about "it's good at scale." It's always crappy, just at scale it is not AS crappy. But no matter what you never want VDI, it's always a fallback because something else is fundamentally wrong.



  • Unless you have a real clear cut reason as to WHY VDI and the places it can save you time and/or money, it won't be worth it.

    As an educational insitution, it makes sense for us, since we can cut down having to buy 250 to 500 worker class workstations every year to only having to buy and replace thin/zero clients when they fail. (We do have to pay Licensing for MS and/or VMware, but we get steep discounts).

    As a good stop-gap or test scenario, I'd suggest that using RemoteApps or even Remote Desktop sessions could show you the potential for how well VDI could work for your business.



  • @dafyre said in Common paths to VDI?:

    Unless you have a real clear cut reason as to WHY VDI and the places it can save you time and/or money, it won't be worth it.

    As an educational insitution, it makes sense for us, since we can cut down having to buy 250 to 500 worker class workstations every year to only having to buy and replace thin/zero clients when they fail. (We do have to pay Licensing for MS and/or VMware, but we get steep discounts).

    As a good stop-gap or test scenario, I'd suggest that using RemoteApps or even Remote Desktop sessions could show you the potential for how well VDI could work for your business.

    In your case, what makes VDI superior to RDS?



  • @scottalanmiller said in Common paths to VDI?:

    @dafyre said in Common paths to VDI?:

    Unless you have a real clear cut reason as to WHY VDI and the places it can save you time and/or money, it won't be worth it.

    As an educational insitution, it makes sense for us, since we can cut down having to buy 250 to 500 worker class workstations every year to only having to buy and replace thin/zero clients when they fail. (We do have to pay Licensing for MS and/or VMware, but we get steep discounts).

    As a good stop-gap or test scenario, I'd suggest that using RemoteApps or even Remote Desktop sessions could show you the potential for how well VDI could work for your business.

    In your case, what makes VDI superior to RDS?

    That is a decision that came down from higher up before I started here, unfortunately.

    I prefer the Microsoft RemoteApp and RDS over a full VDI desktop.



  • @dafyre said in Common paths to VDI?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Common paths to VDI?:

    @dafyre said in Common paths to VDI?:

    Unless you have a real clear cut reason as to WHY VDI and the places it can save you time and/or money, it won't be worth it.

    As an educational insitution, it makes sense for us, since we can cut down having to buy 250 to 500 worker class workstations every year to only having to buy and replace thin/zero clients when they fail. (We do have to pay Licensing for MS and/or VMware, but we get steep discounts).

    As a good stop-gap or test scenario, I'd suggest that using RemoteApps or even Remote Desktop sessions could show you the potential for how well VDI could work for your business.

    In your case, what makes VDI superior to RDS?

    That is a decision that came down from higher up before I started here, unfortunately.

    I prefer the Microsoft RemoteApp and RDS over a full VDI desktop.

    You said that using VDI made sense for you. I was asking what about it made sense. Sounds like the answer is... it doesn't make sense, RDS would have been the right choice but no one did an evaluation of the needs?



  • @scottalanmiller said in Common paths to VDI?:

    @dafyre said in Common paths to VDI?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Common paths to VDI?:

    @dafyre said in Common paths to VDI?:

    Unless you have a real clear cut reason as to WHY VDI and the places it can save you time and/or money, it won't be worth it.

    As an educational insitution, it makes sense for us, since we can cut down having to buy 250 to 500 worker class workstations every year to only having to buy and replace thin/zero clients when they fail. (We do have to pay Licensing for MS and/or VMware, but we get steep discounts).

    As a good stop-gap or test scenario, I'd suggest that using RemoteApps or even Remote Desktop sessions could show you the potential for how well VDI could work for your business.

    In your case, what makes VDI superior to RDS?

    That is a decision that came down from higher up before I started here, unfortunately.

    I prefer the Microsoft RemoteApp and RDS over a full VDI desktop.

    You said that using VDI made sense for you. I was asking what about it made sense. Sounds like the answer is... it doesn't make sense, RDS would have been the right choice but no one did an evaluation of the needs?

    I think it does make sense in the places we use it (and it has enough scale to be cost effective). RDS would also be effective there, but less user friendly when compared on the thin clients we use. But more to your point, no, no evaluation was done in real world testing. (A few things were 'tested' to make it look like it happened on paper).



  • @dafyre said in Common paths to VDI?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Common paths to VDI?:

    @dafyre said in Common paths to VDI?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Common paths to VDI?:

    @dafyre said in Common paths to VDI?:

    Unless you have a real clear cut reason as to WHY VDI and the places it can save you time and/or money, it won't be worth it.

    As an educational insitution, it makes sense for us, since we can cut down having to buy 250 to 500 worker class workstations every year to only having to buy and replace thin/zero clients when they fail. (We do have to pay Licensing for MS and/or VMware, but we get steep discounts).

    As a good stop-gap or test scenario, I'd suggest that using RemoteApps or even Remote Desktop sessions could show you the potential for how well VDI could work for your business.

    In your case, what makes VDI superior to RDS?

    That is a decision that came down from higher up before I started here, unfortunately.

    I prefer the Microsoft RemoteApp and RDS over a full VDI desktop.

    You said that using VDI made sense for you. I was asking what about it made sense. Sounds like the answer is... it doesn't make sense, RDS would have been the right choice but no one did an evaluation of the needs?

    I think it does make sense in the places we use it (and it has enough scale to be cost effective). RDS would also be effective there, but less user friendly when compared on the thin clients we use. But more to your point, no, no evaluation was done in real world testing. (A few things were 'tested' to make it look like it happened on paper).

    How does scale play a role versus RDS? What would make RDS less user friendly? How would end users even know the difference?



  • RDS is used as the front end for a lot of VDI, so in a large number of cases VDI is a backend to RDS and the end user experience is identical. Of course you can do VDI without RDS and RDS without VDI. But lots of VDI, including Citrix XenDesktop, uses an RDS like experience to enable connections. TO the end users, though, it's all just instant, automatic connections. You dont experience any difference in the interactions regardless of which method you are using unless you intentionally expose some manual component of the engagement.



  • @scottalanmiller said in Common paths to VDI?:

    @dafyre said in Common paths to VDI?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Common paths to VDI?:

    @dafyre said in Common paths to VDI?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Common paths to VDI?:

    @dafyre said in Common paths to VDI?:

    Unless you have a real clear cut reason as to WHY VDI and the places it can save you time and/or money, it won't be worth it.

    As an educational insitution, it makes sense for us, since we can cut down having to buy 250 to 500 worker class workstations every year to only having to buy and replace thin/zero clients when they fail. (We do have to pay Licensing for MS and/or VMware, but we get steep discounts).

    As a good stop-gap or test scenario, I'd suggest that using RemoteApps or even Remote Desktop sessions could show you the potential for how well VDI could work for your business.

    In your case, what makes VDI superior to RDS?

    That is a decision that came down from higher up before I started here, unfortunately.

    I prefer the Microsoft RemoteApp and RDS over a full VDI desktop.

    You said that using VDI made sense for you. I was asking what about it made sense. Sounds like the answer is... it doesn't make sense, RDS would have been the right choice but no one did an evaluation of the needs?

    I think it does make sense in the places we use it (and it has enough scale to be cost effective). RDS would also be effective there, but less user friendly when compared on the thin clients we use. But more to your point, no, no evaluation was done in real world testing. (A few things were 'tested' to make it look like it happened on paper).

    How does scale play a role versus RDS? What would make RDS less user friendly? How would end users even know the difference?

    Because the bean counters enjoy knowing how the bottom line is affected when we undertake a project. In this case, scale goes along with the financial side of things, not with the user experience side of things.



  • I wasn't particularly interested in a comparison between VDI to RDP, but more interested on how one gets to a "thin-client" environment in general. "VDI" is just a term that I have known it as a general technology/topology (such as similar to the 1980's client-server session based technologies) and not in a particular vendor/protocol/specific product instance.

    Probably could have been better asked "How does one move from desktop/laptops to thin client environments?"



  • @scottalanmiller said in Common paths to VDI?:

    RDS is used as the front end for a lot of VDI, so in a large number of cases VDI is a backend to RDS and the end user experience is identical. Of course you can do VDI without RDS and RDS without VDI. But lots of VDI, including Citrix XenDesktop, uses an RDS like experience to enable connections.

    Agreed.

    TO the end users, though, it's all just instant, automatic connections. You dont experience any difference in the interactions regardless of which method you are using unless you intentionally expose some manual component of the engagement.

    Again, I agree that's what it SHOULD be. But the thin clients we have do not work as seamlessly with Microsoft's RDS as they do with VMware View.

    The higher ups here are VERY much fans of good user experience, and VMware is the incumbent.



  • @nerdydad said in Common paths to VDI?:

    I wasn't particularly interested in a comparison between VDI to RDP, but more interested on how one gets to a "thin-client" environment in general. "VDI" is just a term that I have known it as a general technology/topology (such as similar to the 1980's client-server session based technologies) and not in a particular vendor/protocol/specific product instance.

    Probably could have been better asked "How does one move from desktop/laptops to thin client environments?"

    VDI is VERY specific, it is one to one virtualization of desktops without the sharing of resources and is not something that existing in the 1980s. You are thinking of terminal services, which is called RDS in the Windows world. So using VDI explicitely gave you something different.



  • @dafyre said in Common paths to VDI?:

    Again, I agree that's what it SHOULD be. But the thin clients we have do not work as seamlessly with Microsoft's RDS as they do with VMware View.

    The higher ups here are VERY much fans of good user experience, and VMware is the incumbent.

    Something tell sme that someone just didn't set them up properly.



  • @dafyre said in Common paths to VDI?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Common paths to VDI?:

    @dafyre said in Common paths to VDI?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Common paths to VDI?:

    @dafyre said in Common paths to VDI?:

    @scottalanmiller said in Common paths to VDI?:

    @dafyre said in Common paths to VDI?:

    Unless you have a real clear cut reason as to WHY VDI and the places it can save you time and/or money, it won't be worth it.

    As an educational insitution, it makes sense for us, since we can cut down having to buy 250 to 500 worker class workstations every year to only having to buy and replace thin/zero clients when they fail. (We do have to pay Licensing for MS and/or VMware, but we get steep discounts).

    As a good stop-gap or test scenario, I'd suggest that using RemoteApps or even Remote Desktop sessions could show you the potential for how well VDI could work for your business.

    In your case, what makes VDI superior to RDS?

    That is a decision that came down from higher up before I started here, unfortunately.

    I prefer the Microsoft RemoteApp and RDS over a full VDI desktop.

    You said that using VDI made sense for you. I was asking what about it made sense. Sounds like the answer is... it doesn't make sense, RDS would have been the right choice but no one did an evaluation of the needs?

    I think it does make sense in the places we use it (and it has enough scale to be cost effective). RDS would also be effective there, but less user friendly when compared on the thin clients we use. But more to your point, no, no evaluation was done in real world testing. (A few things were 'tested' to make it look like it happened on paper).

    How does scale play a role versus RDS? What would make RDS less user friendly? How would end users even know the difference?

    Because the bean counters enjoy knowing how the bottom line is affected when we undertake a project. In this case, scale goes along with the financial side of things, not with the user experience side of things.

    Except VDI is always more costly than RDS, regardless of scale, so that argument would take you in the opposite direction. That was part of my point - VDI never makes sense based on scale, so why would scale matter if scale would never make the bean counters happy?


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