I don’t think this is much of a stretch to say, and it’s probably more of an issue than most would want to admit. IT is very cautious about rocking the boat when it comes to desktop infrastructure change, with good reason.
Users are more self-sufficient than they ever have been and IT groups don’t want to break that. The days of insisting on locking down a workstation to make it a secure and predictably manageable asset are over. Users have won that battle for the most part. Apple and Blackberry are partially to blame for introducing productivity devices that blur the line between personal and business. Also, most service-based companies with professional staff have adopted the laptop as the primary issued user device, and in the consumer and corporate markets, sales of the iPad and MacBook is eating into traditional Intel-based laptop sales.
In short, the employee is a business device consumer, not just a user. What comes with a consumer mentality is this: users support themselves and demand full access and self-direction. Even in the most “locked-down” environments, IT security bends over backwards to provide flexibility in the architecture, like permitting and encrypting data on thumb drives instead of simply disallowing their use.
Somewhat related to the “consumerization” of IT end user devices is that most of the experience we’ve had in the past with “thin clients” is related to experience with Citrix, RDP and the cheap, horrible thin stations that were available the last time the industry set out to ‘thin’ the desktop. There are stories of thin stations and WinCE being thrown in dumpsters by the box load.
Any solution that changes the desktop has to meet or exceed the performance expectations of the user. Without the same level of responsiveness and a similar look, feel and openness (meaning user-level control) there will be resistance. Basically, the coolness and usability cannot be lost in order to gain the confidence of the user community.
To change the desktop while using terms like “standardization” and “security” and “centralized” that sound too restrictive and add perceived complexity of a new delivery architecture, appears daunting to an IT organization with an already thin staff.
So, the deck is stacked against IT. It is just too hard, too complicated and too risky for a screaming user community.
Those who throw out a “switch to VDI” mantra have to take these real and justifiable fears into account.
Sr. Consultant Specialist in Virtualization and IT Strategy