IDV vs VDI: Off The Cuff Thoughts

I was recently asked about my thoughts on Intelligent Desktop Virtualization(IDV) like VMware View Local Mode and products like NxTop by Virtual Computer. The first thought that comes to my head is to avoid it like the plague. Type 1 and Type 2 hypervisors have their place with the right use case but I don’t think this is for the majority of people.

One of the major benefits of using a local image on desktop PC is said to be cost. While your infrastructure costs for sure would be a lot cheaper I have my doubts on long term operational costs. One of the driving forces behind VDI is to get out of the end point game. I want to have to do next to nothing on the edge. I want to live in my ivory tower of the data centre. At a past role would leave an extra zero client on site if an end point problem came up. With IDV, leaving extra devices becomes more a problem with keeping them up to date. As soon you start having to drive out to remote sites your ROI can go down the drain. You also have to deal with quicker end point life-cycles.

Backing up of the user data also becomes an area of concern for me with IDV Sure IDV solutions backup/sync the data back but what if the user has been offline for a long time? I would normally think that a user not online is probably not working but IDV is around because of this need. Even if the data is synced back to the data centre,how is getting pulled out of the desktop encase your IDV infrastructure fails?

Application experience is another area where I would rather have VDI instead of IDV. I want my desktop to have a cozy home beside the moving parts that make up the application I am accessing. If I have to spend additional money to deliver the application I think we have failed.

One of my favourite parts of VDI is the follow-me desktop. No matter what device I am on , how many times I move around, I still get my desktop, applications and data where I left off. This is a pretty hard ask for IDV. The follow-me desktops also can save money on single sign on costs. Lessen the security for your applications and tighten up the disconnect times with your virtual desktop. Next time you hop on your device to connect to your VDI desktop, you are off to the races and ready to start work.

These are just my initial thoughts. Like most things, “It depends” but I am not a huge fan of IDV.

What do you think?


  1. Thanks for posting your comments D. Good take on the IDV / VDI debate. I am examining the same type of scenarios at our environment, on one hand we have currently refreshed desktop infrastructure and they are very capable of running a VM under a scaled back host OS. So the proposition of not having to invest in the expensive storage, compute and memory requirements of a hosted solution up front interests me.

    I look at local networking and the bandwidth available within the office it makes sense to leverage the IDV model. From the administrators vantage point, your right, the centralized model is ideal, control, keeping the support personnel centralized and extending the life of your expanse of hardware, but the initial cost is steep.

    I also examine the idea of Field users whom don’t have access to the network for extended periods of time and thus the creation of the “local mode” in View. Fantastic.

    Thanks again for the post and quickly after I dropped the question. 🙂

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