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By Trenton R. Baker, Sr. Program and Partner Manager, Nexenta Systems

This isn’t your father’s VDI. The Virtual Desktop Infrastructure has seen extraordinary changes in just the last couple of years. And why you might ask?  The disruptive force that is the consumerization of IT is the culprit for this fundamental shift in how the workforce views efficiency.  According to a 2011 International Data Corporation (IDC) report, the number of mobile workers worldwide is projected to reach 1.3 billion by 2015, increasing the burden of today’s enterprise to deliver workplace mobility, security, and a high user experience.

The always-on, 24x7 workforce already has adopted the mantra of BYOD―Bring Your Own Device. This describes the recent phenomenon of employees, on their own volition, using personally owned devices, to connect remotely to their business applications from whenever and wherever they are and demand the same experience, capabilities, and security as they would at their office desk.

The consumer is driving the move toward a more geographically dispersed 24x7 workforce, and enterprises need tools to quickly solve these challenges. The end result needs to improve efficiency, reduce CAPEX and OPEX costs, and account for a disparate infrastructure security policy in need of device, location and hardware-agnostic collaboration solutions.

As Brian Madden put it in his recent book, The VDI Delusion, “It would be cool to use VDI for your users but not have to change the way you manage them.”  This poignant sentence goes to the heart of the BYOD discussion and, furthermore, the need for the VMware View Mobile Secure Desktop (MSD) solution architecture. By leveraging desktops with persona management, the Mobile Secure Desktop ensures end users can carry their persona with them to any devise of their choosing, and across sessions, to maintain a personalized desktop experience.

The Mobile Secure Desktop is a validated solution architecture offered by VMware and VMware Ready Partners, such as Nexenta. The VMware MSD architecture provides support for BYOD diversity by improving user access and mobility, enhancing data security, and delivering a high-quality user experience. A 24x7 mobile BYOD workforce can have access to the network via two-factor authentication system using RSA, RADIUS OTP tokens, and smart cards to ensure the connection from the View Client to the View Agent is fully encrypted. VMware vShield products, together with View, allow IT to offload anti-virus protection to secure virtual machines and provide high levels of isolation between resource pools and networks. This allows IT to apply policies across VMs and pools of users.

VMware recently announced support for PCoIP for Mac Clients and Linux Clients, along with support for iPad clients and Android clients for PCoIP, as well as all flavors of Windows. At this point, VMware View MSD covers more than 90% of the tablet and PC/laptop markets. Early adopter verticals for MSD typically would include financial services, government, healthcare, and education—organization where end users are free to access data and applications from any qualified device, whether in the office or halfway around the world.

When done efficiently, desktop virtualization delivers the promises of a true BYOD universe and is paramount to helping organizations succeed. But getting VDI right can include complexities, misconceptions, and an involved process.  It is critical to start from a point of strength and ensure that growth and scalability are planned for.

Determining how to architect VDI with what components work well together  and then to maintain a flawless user experience and can often take on a life of its own.  VMware MSD solutions are tested and pre-validated to ensure product interoperability and performance are supported with reference architectures. VMware from best-of-breed partners’ products like NexentaVSA for View™ are, through the Rapid Desktop program providing businesses with a way to quickly get up and running with a VDI-in-a-Box Proof of Concept (POC) so as to minimize the guesswork around VDI.

Understanding that end-to-end performance is critical to the workforce user experience and optimizing VDI storage configurations enables such benefits, Nexenta developed NexentaVSA for View (NV4V) to take the complexity and guesswork out of VMware deployments. Tightly coupled with VMware View, NV4V automates the iterative and often daunting tasks of completing the trial-and-error steps required to configure a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, provisioning both VM desktops and the associated storage.  NV4V not only simplifies the deployment of VDI, it provides real-time analytics to deploy, measure, and calibrate.  NV4V’s Calibration Wizard provides a single pane of glass into the VDI deployment with the ability to administer performance testing, re-calibrate deployments in the face of growth to ensure that pre-set levels for IOPS, latency, and bandwidth do not veer from standard as the system grows, thus delivering a consistent workforce user experience.

The Mobile Secure Desktop for VMware View when combined with NexentaVSA for View, are the innovative solutions needed for business saddled with legacy desktop PC to break free and coexist in the disruptive world of the 24x7 BYOD mobile workforce.

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Bill Roth is a Silicon Valley veteran with over 20 years in the industry. He has played numerous product marketing, product management and engineering roles at companies like BEA, Sun, Morgan Stanley, and EBay Enterprise. He was recently named one of the World's 30 Most Influential Cloud Bloggers.