Today was the start of the 11th ever BriForum taking place in London at the Hilton Metropoliton near Paddington and I have been lucky enough to have been able to attend.
The morning started off after registration with a welcome from Brian Madden himself, Brian reminisced over previous BriForum’s remembering the first that took place in a cinema with many members of his family including his Mum helping with the running, back in those days BriForum was all about Terminal Services, todays focus is desktop virtualisation.
Brian covered how many people including himself spent many years trying to loose the responsibility of the “desktop” and spoke about the great pleasure he had when he gained the key to the datacenter and lost the responsibility of the desktops. Today virtualisation is the sexy bit of desktop virtualisation.
Brian spoke about what the desktop actually was with many people referring to the desktop as the white / black / grey box in front of the user or others the background and icons on the screen, the truth is the desktop hasn’t changed much over the last 10 years, we’re all still staring at the same background with icons, the only difference is today we are trying to wedge Windows onto any device possible whether it is really suitable or not.
Consumerization of IT was then discussed or as Brian likes to call it FUIT, the fact that IT needs to ensure what they are delivering to there end users is a good solution or the end user will soon end up going to the App Store and downloading a touch friendly equivalent. The example that was used was presenting Word to a user on an iPad via VDI, whilst it maybe used for the first week, the user will soon get fed up of not having a mouse, they will search for Word in the App Store download docs to go, soon realise they couldn’t save their apps to their network drive and be using dropbox. We are finally getting to a position where we can have a hybrid outlook to our applications allowing our user to use a mixture or native and legacy applications using the technologies available to us, one example of this would be VMware’s Project Horizon.
Brian went on to discuss the important elements of the desktop, these where summed up under 6 headings, Device HW Interface, The UI, App Runtime, App Launcher. Provisioning Target, App Integration, Security Container, Configuration Container.
Following the welcome the breakout sessions began, my favourite sessions throughout the day were both of the sessions by Ruben Spruijt @rspruijt CTO at PQR, the first was The VDI Smackdown covering many aspects (the bad and ugly) of VDI with common points of failure, the second being Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 demos, Ruben was a great presenter with a lot of passion around his subjects. I highly recommend you read some of his white papers on the project VRC website http://www.projectvrc.com. I also enjoyed the AppSense session where the demonstrated a number of products that they had available for free, in the works or currently in beta these included Data Locker a free DropBox encryption tool, DataNow a corporate DropBox replacement and Project Acorn User (Persona) virtualisation solution for the Mac, I will cover these products in more detail in a later blog post.
In the main hall there were a number of vendors, the main vendor of interest to me was Nutanix who were launching their EMEA team at BriFroum, Nutanix make a storage and compute based product encapsulating both technologies into a build block approach. Nutanix utilise Fusion IO as well as SSD’s and Spinning Disks in their nodes to build a solution that can be quickly and easily scaled for VDI solutions amongst other workloads. I also enjoyed catching up with Atlantis Computing who make an IO accelerator and digging into Liquidware Lab Stratusphere UX for VDI user experience monitoring.
It’s been a very long day for me 5.30am 09.30pm and I will be heading back down to London again for 8am tomorrow, but it has defiantly been a worthwhile visit. I hope to follow up on a lot of the elements learnt at Briforum in more detail over the coming weeks.