No. I strongly believe this is a strategic direction for us. Cost reduction, easy manageability, security and the anticipated increase in the use of tablet devices are clear driving forces. The sheer number of boring and routine calls that an IT staff has to make to "fix" individual computers today will be reduced by orders of magnitude through centralized image management and by simply swapping the end device such as a thin client (when needed). Of course, there are many in the academic community who still need powerful computers to carry out their work and those devices will continue to exist. But for many, whether software runs on a window on their mobile device or their own computer is less relevant than being able to get the work done -- which will potentially be done quicker and safer.
What have been the biggest surprises, good or bad, with VDI so far?
When we began this at Wesleyan [Ed.'s note: not to be confused with Wellesley] three years ago, we quickly realized that it is not a turnkey system. It has come a long way, but still, there are so many moving parts to it and having a clear understanding of how to architect them is key to this. I am proud to say that we have top-notch technologists here at Wellesley in the areas of VMware and NetApp, and this makes a whole lot of difference as to whether you are going to succeed or not or whether you are in for surprises.
Has the school already implemented any other virtualization technologies?
We have been using VirtualBox to run Windows software on Macs for the last two years.
Give me a few pieces of advice you'd have for organizations thinking of making the move to VDI.
Make sure to do the research (a lot of it!). Make sure that you have the expertise in the areas that are required to support VDI. Talk to the vendors regarding capacity (NetApp has been great in running some of the diagnostic software to profile our existing hardware and you need that level of analysis before jumping in). Invest in thin clients carefully based on the actual need and not just price (some are poor in delivering video). Be honest in understanding and presenting that the project is not going to save actual dollars in the first cut and that the savings are going to be realized over time and in total cost of ownership/management. Also, consider server-side antivirus software.
Anything else worth noting?