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Yes Virginia There Is Politics In IT

It's become clear over the past year or so that we are in the first phases of the biggest change in data center architecture since we settled on Intel servers and Ethernet switching a 15 or so years ago. I'm afraid that, as usual, the geek squad is paying too much attention to how cool the new technology is and not enough to the politics of change.

I was listening the other day as a few other storage geek members of the chattering class discussed the challenges involved in implementing a VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) environment. They were talking about the I/O demands of boot and login storms while completely ignoring the issue of user buy-in.

I'm also amazed that some magazines, which shall remain nameless just in case I need more freelance work, will run a cover story once month about how users should be allowed to choose their own tech, and the next month will anoint VDI as the best thing since the 3270.  The concepts seem mutually  exclusive to me.

I've run a few thin client implementations over the years, and they can be a great solution for call centers, law firms and other environments where users run a limited number of well known applications. As advocates maintain, today's VDI technology does address many of the issues like printer drivers, application memory leaks and multimedia that plagued terminal server and Citrix implementations in the past.

However no matter how you slice it, VDI is a controlled, thin client technology, and if it's going to be your platform of the future, you're going to have to deal with user push back, especially if your organization--like most of corporate America--has stopped doing technology training for end users. Users like their personal computers and will resent having them taken away. I've seen advertising executives making well into six figures get in fist fights because one got a new Mac before the other and secretaries literally reduced to tears as their systems were upgraded.

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