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The VDI Delusion: Why Desktop Virtualization Failed to Live Up to the Hype, and What the Future Enterprise Desktop will Really Look Like [Kindle Edition]

Brian Madden , Gabe Knuth , Jack Madden
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Book Description

For many years we’ve been hearing that the future of the desktop is going to be VDI. Clearly that hasn’t happened. Server virtualization has been wildly successful, so why not VDI and desktop virtualization?

VDI vendors made a lot of wild promises in the mid-2000s. Some of them were true, some were a stretch, and some were just plain misleading. The VDI Delusion digs into these into these claims, taking a technical look at some of the common myths around desktop virtualization. It also examines practical reasons why many VDI pilots and proofs of concept fail to go full scale or just plain fail completely.

Of course there are many good reasons to use VDI, which are also covered in this book. Brian, Gabe, and Jack aren’t actually VDI haters—they just don't like it when it’s used inappropriately. They outline practical, concrete reasons for using VDI and other server-based computing solutions in addition to all the poor reasons people try and fail.

The middle portion of The VDI Delusion examines why desktop virtualization is so difficult in the first place, and what organizations really want out of it. Taking a look at Windows desktops and how they’re virtualized forces users to come up with a definition of a desktop that goes beyond a a Windows image, a laptop, or any other device. So is the PC dead? Is the keyboard and mouse dead? Is the desktop dead? Or is a desktop is really a collection of applications, data, and settings?

Many of us know that Windows can be virtualized to deliver applications, data, and settings as a service, but now it’s joined by mobile apps, SaaS, and web apps, and strained by users that want to do anything anywhere, anytime, from any device. These new technologies have many advantages while adding new challenges. Windows used to provide the framework for unifying apps, data, and settings. Now, how do we unify the delivery of apps, data, and settings when there are multiple kinds of apps (including legacy Windows applications) based on different platforms being delivered to different form factors?

As delivering legacy Windows applications as a service is perfected, IT will learn how to manage apps, data, and user identity without the monolithic Windows framework to contain everything. The VDI Delusion discusses what approaches are out there right now and what challenges still remain.

Is the PC really dead? What’s the future of desktop computing? What role will Windows play? The final chapters of this book address all of these questions.

1. Why Are We Here?
2. The Promise of VDI
3. The Reality of VDI
4. Why Do VDI Projects Fail?
5. Desktop Virtualization Is More Than VDI
6. What Are You Trying to Solve?
7. Understanding Windows
8. What Is a Desktop?
9. How Do We Make Windows Do This?
10. Moving Beyond Windows Applications
11. Putting It All Together
12. The Future of the Desktop

The VDI Delusion is the product of decades of combined experience writing, thinking, consulting, and speaking about desktop virtualization, server based computing, and application delivery.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

BRIAN MADDEN is known throughout the world as an opinionated, super technical, fiercely-independent desktop virtualization expert. He's written several books and over 2,000 articles about desktop and application virtualization. His blog,, receives millions of visitors per year and is a leading source for conversation, debate, and discourse about the application and desktop virtualization industry. Brian is also the creator of BriForum, the premier independent application delivery technical conference.

GABE KNUTH, known as the other guy at, has been in the application delivery space for 14 years, and has seen the industry evolve from the one-trick pony of terminal services to the application and desktop virtualization of today. Having spent most of his IT career as a consultant, Gabe's focus tends to lean more toward practical, real-world technology in the industry, essentially boiling off the hype and reducing solutions to their usefulness in today's corporate environments. This second perspective gives another dimension of independent, timely content. Gabe's involvement in BriForum has been influential to its success, both as the main technical organizer and as a presenter.

JACK MADDEN has worked on-and-off with Brian and Gabe since 2005. In 2011 he joined them full time as a contributor for and the editorial director for

Brian, Gabe, and Jack can be heard on their weekly internet radio show and speak at events around the world.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2502 KB
  • Print Length: 240 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007MWG378
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #382,327 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
By Seaski
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I will begin by complementing the authors for this book being an entertaining read despite the technical nature of the topics.
Desktop and Application Virtualization are commonly lumped together under the catchall VDI banner. As is clearly presented in this book the gotchas that plague the Windows Desktop world do not go away simply by moving to a "Golden image" Virtualized Desktop model. Rather, the complexity increases and the problems multiply. The authors point out many of the misconceptions driving virtualization projects and caution against the "sexiness of vendorspeak."
Many vendor claims are characterized as myths or more bluntly, BS ! The authors focus on Application Delivery as the true focus of Desktop Delivery. One of the first recommendations of the book is that since Desktop Virtualization is all about Windows 7, reading the Windows 7 Resource Kit is the path to success. For sure that didn't simplify anything ! What emerges early on in the book is a clear picture of how to deploy Virtualization technology to specific groups of users with specific requirements. The ubiquitous techniques of Application virtualization, RDSH desktops and VDI desktops are delineated. The methodologies for successful deployments are clearly explained with the rider added; Don't expect things to get easier any time in the near future. The issue at hand is how to decouple the user applications, data, settings and personalization from the device the user chooses (BYOC). While the trend for desktops to move toward the data center is acknowledged, the presence of legacy devices running Windows is not ignored or discouraged where appropriate. What is clear is that the new technologies must be embraced by IT or users will simply find ways to get what they need on their own.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The VDI Delusion delusion May 3, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As some of the other comments have mentioned, the title of this book is a bit misleading as it does not slam VDI but is very balanced. I've been deeply involved in the hosted desktop space since 1995 and was a Microsoft Terminal Server MVP along with Brian Madden for 4 years in the early 2000s, but I have to say I learned a gread deal from reading this book. While I don't share the authors' opinions about everything virtual desktop - related, I think they did an outstanding job in disecting the desktop from Windows to Web. And as a bonus, the book is very entertaining. This may be the first time that I ever enjoyed reading a technical book (including the 10 I've co-authored). Huge kudos to Brian, Gabe & Jack for their outstanding work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By filipv
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Don't be put off by the title, the book does provide a very balanced view of the state of desktop virtualization as a whole and where VDI fits, and more importantly where it does not. It is not an in-depth technical review but rather a higher level overview of what you need to keep in mind when looking into your application (sic) strategy for your company. I love the writing style and and have spend many page nodding along agreeably, some concepts/technologies are dismissed rather quickly but that fits with the style of the book whereby it gets across clearly that you need to do your own investigation beyond what is presented in the book. I have spent some years in this industry (both as an employee of Citrix and the EUC guy at Dell) and it is very cool to now have a reference to point out to people when they harshly disagree with what you are claiming and desperately hang on to their own reality, not that any book should be regarded as the single source of truth. Before you embark on your desktop virtualization journey please spend a few bucks reading this book, you and your company/users might will be much better off in the end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for Anyone Dealing with VDI April 14, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book title suggests a bit of animosity towards VDI, but that's not actually how they feel about VDI. Rather, the delusion isn't regarding the actual technology of VDI, but the hype surrounding it (and the assumption many have that it's a solve-all solution).

So the book isn't necessarily anti-VDI, just anti-hype. They like VDI (and state so several times) in certain situations, but in most situations VDI isn't warranted nor is it beneficial. And they lay out why, as well as the alternative solutions that are similar to VDI (app streaming, OS streaming, etc.).

It's not a deep-dive technical book, but it really doesn't need to be. It talks frankly about the general infrastructure issues that come with VDI, as well as delivering other types of desktop services to users across a multitude of organizations.

It's good for the technical person (such as myself) who deal in an ancillary way with VDI (I've dealt with the network and storage aspects, but have never configured a VDI solution), as well as the sales persons and SE that deal with VDI. In that regard, it has a wide audience.

For anyone dealing with VDI (who isn't totally immersed in the realities of it and similar technologies) this is a must-read. It's quick and easy, and really gets down to the issues at hand.
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5.0 out of 5 stars EXTREMELY Worthwhile and Very Entertaining November 23, 2012
Essential reading for any CIO, VP, Director, Engineer, and Project Manager. This book was worth every minute of my time.

The first half of the book does just what you expect. It analyzes where we stand today regarding desktop virtualization. So many companies have chased after VDI just because their server virtualization was so incredibly successful. Brian Madden and his team explain the substantial complexities and pitfalls of VDI. If you are planning a VDI implementation or are trying to rescue one that was not "successful", this book will be a life saver.

The second half of the book offers an outstanding compilation of the variety of end client technologies that will create the desktop experience in the coming years. As Microsoft's influence over the direction of OS and application architecture wanes, it is difficult to comprehensively grasp all of the developing technologies that are gaining traction in the market. The second half of this book was a tremendous help in providing high-level overviews of the competing technologies as they relate to each other, the desktop experience, and most importantly, enterprise environments.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Neither a VDI Pep rally nor a VDI funeral
The author presents valuable insights into both the problems and possibilities of desktop virtualization. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Dale Ritchie
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for anyone implementing VDI
Make a very plain and clear case for where virtual desktops make sense and, more importantly...where they do not. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Michael L. Hunter
5.0 out of 5 stars my boss must read this book too!
Excellent. After reading this book I feel relieved. Finally someone writes what I try te tell people around me for a long time. Read more
Published 11 months ago by jandsmit
4.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended - reality check on VDI.
Excellent, well-informed viewpoint on server-based end-user-computing. Too often I am seeing VDI and DaaS being 'the way forward' and the 'default deployment mechanism' for... Read more
Published 16 months ago by PETER J HAIGH
3.0 out of 5 stars Good presentation of the arguments
Read about 3/4 of the book - then skimmed through the last half. Author makes some valid points (it's all about the applications). Learned a few things.
Published 17 months ago by billiam
4.0 out of 5 stars Great information
Finally someone could explain why VDI did not work. Brian gets it. It is a very insightfull book. Will save you from insanity.
Published 21 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars The future of the desktop is clear
This book clearly lays out the multitude of virtualization scenarios and how and where they fit or where they don't. Read more
Published 22 months ago by John A. DeLise
5.0 out of 5 stars Very informative
Nicely written with deep analysis, very valuable insights which will help to evaluate the VDI scope for your organization. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Imran
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice overview
Provides a good overview of DT virtualization and the pro's / con's of VDI (essentially, the reality of VDI and the challenges it creates in the enterprise).
Published 23 months ago by Suboptimal
5.0 out of 5 stars The truth
This is required reading for anyone who wants to implement VDI. Almost all of the gotchas are here. Even a year later, this book stays accurate.
Published 24 months ago by Donnie
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