Just over a year ago I was hired away from Citrix to bring my skills and experience in desktop virtualisation to Nutanix. Proof, if any was needed, that a well rehearsed and embellished interview can get you anywhere in this world. Thankfully only three people including me read this blog so we’ll just keep that between us…
From that first day back in June 2014 I wanted to take something back to the Citrix customers and community because my reason for joining was down to how wonderfully Nutanix’s platform and its vision suits desktop virtualisation. It is a perfect marriage and today I’m going to talk about something genuinely exciting for me and hopefully you too.
Today Nutanix and Citrix announced support for XenDesktop (and XenApp!!!!) on Acropolis and I could not be happier about it. This is a huge deal for any customer running the number one EUC product in the market because it not only continues to solve the outstanding issues left by an archaic three-tier architecture it means that from top to bottom it can unshackle them from what was previously a finger in the air pointing at an estimation of performance, scaleability and cost. Today is the first time a virtualised Citrix environment can be simplified from the hypervisor layer and married to an architecture that can be delivered and scaled with absolute confidence. Also don’t forget that NetScaler VPX and ShareFile are also fully supported so a fully loaded Citrix stack is very much here.
Our distributed storage and app mobility fabric simplifies IT infrastructures. It allows limitless scale, predictable performance, deep monitoring and analytics and no single point of degradation or failure. After all VDI is only really ‘seen’ when it goes wrong so why put up with anything less? Many consider VDI to be a second class citizen in the enterprise because “it’s just desktops” but it’s where 95%+ of productivity apps run within a business. VDI needs to be up there with the CRM, DB, billing and mail applications of this world. It’s a tier one workload and don’t let anyone tell you differently.
With Acropolis anyone can deploy build, manage and secure VMs in a matter of minutes with almost no training at all. From rack to deployed in 30 mins or less – I do it in 10 but I forgive you. Simplicity is power, and all that.
If you’re still a bit hazy on how tricky VDI environments can be to glue together let me refresh your memories about the stack of divisions you have to persuade to coexist:
— The End User —
— Endpoint Devices —
— Virtual Application —
— Virtual Desktop —
— Hypervisor —
— Server —
— Storage Fabric —
— Storage Controller —
— Storage Shelves —
Each one of those stacks behind the end user have to be carefully crafted to work together while being managed and updated (sometimes) by different teams. Easy it is not.
Even if you forget the complexities with traditional storage and servers actually configuring the hypervisors and their typically clunky management could take days to get right – if at all. With Acropolis it’s done in a few minutes. It’s no coincidence that the simplicity of setting up XenDesktop is a great fit for Acropolis. Leveraging technologies like data locality and shadow clones means that even under the most harsh situations the XenDesktop site will remain stable, available and always have best in class performance.
The job of a desktop admin is to deliver applications to users to make business’ function more efficiently. In it’s most simplistic form end user computing puts application icons on desktops for people to click on and consume. There is no shame in boiling VDI or app virtualisation down to that sharp example. The beauty is in how it’s delivered but also hiding the complexities and details from the end user; making it invisible.
Up until today the building blocks of VDI were far too visible within organisations. They were disruptive, aided procrastination and evangelised finger-pointing. Now, Citrix and XenDesktop have joined the Nutanix invisible infrastructure and the real measure will be that users never notice. Other than high-fiveing the IT teams of course.