This post is coming to you from my VMware View virtual desktop “in the cloud.”
Let me start by explaining that I’ve promised some coworkers and colleagues that I will be attempting to use a VMware View desktop as my primary work computing device. I have a Wyse P20 in my home office and a laptop that I will use to connect to View. I live in Portland, OR, use Comcast as my ISP, have a 4G Clear wireless connection, and 3G through my Blackberry all of which I will use to connect to a desktop in Sacramento, CA. What’s the likely outcome? There will probably be some frustrating moments when I can’t get to the View environment or maybe I will be unable to resist viewing rich media on a local client. On that note, I can’t stop raving about my ability to stream Hulu through the virtual desktop with smooth playback and synchronized audio over my Comcast internet connection. PCoIP performance is fantastic! I’m sure my employer loves to hear that I’m watching TV on a desktop hosted in our cloud…
Today, I’m onsite with a customer working on a VMware Health Check report. A virtual desktop limitation that I encountered almost immediately is that I need to connect to their environment using remote desktop from my fat client that is plugged into their network. My desktop in the cloud can’t help me here. I guess technically I could VPN into their network from the virtual desktop but depending on their VPN policies I would almost certainly drop the connection upon initiating the tunnel.
However, I did manage to take my notes and customize the report within my virtual desktop. I’m using Microsoft’s Live Mesh to sync screenshots, performance captures, etc over from the fat client where I’ve copied these items from the customer’s systems over the LAN.
There are definitely some hoops that I have to jump through to make this all work out but two clear benefits are 1. The report and data is kept in the datacenter; 2. I simply disconnected the session last night with the document draft still open and it was waiting for me this morning when I launched the virtual desktop. One word: AGILITY! I can access my apps, data, tools… everything from anywhere that I have a connection. Which, with the prevalence of connectivity be it through 3G, 4G, or wifi, I rarely find a place where I cannot get connected. We’ll see what happens the next time I hop on a plane.