End User Experience or Density

With a virtual desktop, what do you care more about: End user experience or virtual desktop density? It comes down to who you ask.

If I ask myself this question but with a user’s perspective, my response would be that I want my virtual desktop to be able to access company resources, to watch videos (some work-related, others not so much), and to listen to my voicemails as they are delivered to me via email. When I use Office Communicator, I want to have a voice conversation with one of my coworkers, but I’m not into the whole video conferencing thing as I don’t want my coworkers to know that I’m sitting outside on the deck in the sun while they are stuck in an office (Work from home FTW).

Now if you ask me the same questions but with an IT perspective or a business owner perspective, I might say that I want to get the greatest user density possible. I want to pack in as many users into the smallest amount of hardware as possible. My users don’t need video. They shouldn’t be watching YouTube (which is a common statement).

Unfortunately, there is a disconnect between users and IT. If you want to do a virtual desktop right, you have to get the user experience designed right. If the user experience sucks, then all of your users are going to slow or stop the project. This is why you always need to assess your users. See what apps they are using. Understand their application-specific requirements. It makes a big difference if a user needs Office Lync for IM, for a weekly voice/video call or for daily voice/video calls. These types of things not only impact the user experience, but it also impacts the overall scalability.

Daniel – Lead Architect
XenDesktop Design Handbook

2 thoughts on “End User Experience or Density”

  1. You’re right. Any VDI rollout that neglects to take into account the user experience will fail, regardless of the server density or any amount of cost savings.

    You have to walk a fine line. VDI has be to be affordable, but not at the expense of user experience. If there’s a noticeably negative difference between their physical desktop and the virtual desktop you give them you can be certain that you’ll be giving them back their physical desktops very soon!


    1. Great post Daniel – I think this resonates with what we’re seeing as well, in terms of the importance of recognizing that virtual desktops are NOT just another workload within the data center, and require careful consideration of how mission critical enterprise workloads (web, app, etc.) can compete with virtual desktop workloads for many of the same resources, and potentially cause negative impacts to both. Certainly from a security perspective, the extended data center infrastructure can present a much larger attack surface for when things go wrong with individual user desktops, not to mention login storms, AV scans, etc. driving the need for networking and security solutions that adapt physical world policy/practices to virtual-world desktops.

      My colleague Jonathan Gilad blogs about this at: http://blogs.cisco.com/datacenter/virtual-desktops-are-special/


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