I am sure that everyone reading this is being bombarded with the term VDI or Virtual Desktop as much as they are the buzzword "Green". Both of them are similar in that they are used a lot together, and they are both concepts that cannot be defined specifically, but are easy to throw around. When I use the Virtual Desktop term, I use it as a concept. I see it as a disconnect of multiple major pieces of the desktop experience stack. That is to say that I see the OS as an engine or platform that just facilitates the overlay of applications and personality (profiles). So if we look at a desktop as a stack of transparencies we have the OS at the bottom, on top that we have the personality and the settings, then we can overlay applications. When layered correctly these parts look like a traditional desktop, however they have the advantage of being switched in and out independently without affecting the other layers. This is basic tenant of VDI. Many people do it and do it well. What is normally the last piece to be discussed is the physical user interface. Most solutions use either a traditional desktop to link to a virtual desktop or virtual app pool, a thin client, or a zero client.
Tangent alert! Remember my aversion to certain technologies mentioned in the previous section, well the same thing happened with Apple products but for a different reason. I always thought that Wintel products were for productivity, and Apple products were for people who had nothing better to do with their time than to ogle the great graphics and to play with a device that was devoid of customization. This was short sighted thinking on my part.
What is wrong with the thin client, etc. solutions? Nothing they work great, there are even thin laptops. So where is the world going today with personal computing? Either we have giant quad core beasts that can heat an office in winter, or we have netbooks, smartphones, or tablets. Those of you who use a smartphone or iPad for business know that you can do 90% or what you want to do, but not efficiently. Those of us with netbooks can surf the web, or read email, but not at the same time. The horsepower is not there for you daily task worker.
This is when it clicked for me. The physical user interface of the future is going to be multi-purposed and severely underpowered for daily business use; it is going to be the cable box to your VDI broadcast center in your organization. Think about it, you sit at home or in a meeting with your IPad (or Android tablet for you anti-Apples), and have full access to all your business applications via broadcast desktop (VDI). Then you move to your desktop and login to your wireless thin client and get to the same desktop. For an IT professional this could mean we can get to our desktops to troubleshoot issues via our cell phones while yachting (everyone in IT has a yacht right?).
So in closing (finally, right?) I think that most technologies will eventually embrace the fact that we all have multiple communications devices today that can be used to access a corporate virtual desktop infrastructure, just for right now I see Citrix already having this capability. One day we will all be using low power devices, of our choosing, to access the "Man Behind the Curtain", our datacenter based virtual desktops.