Gartner to mediate debate based on my article “Open letter to non-persistent VDI fanboys…”

Gunnar Berger, research director for Gartner’s IT Professionals service, will be mediating a debate during VMworld based on my article Open letter to non-persistent VDI fanboys…. I feel very honored and humbled to be able to weigh in my opinions and be respected by important industry analysts and members of the virtualization and EUC community.

Here is the excerpt of Gartner’s blog post announcing the debate.


Persist or not to persist that is the question… and the debate over which is better is happening “off the grid” next week at VMworld.

For those that don’t know, Andre Leibovici (VMware) wrote a blog entitled “Open letter to non-persistent VDI fanboys…” where he suggested that all virtual desktops should be completely persistence. He backed that argument up so perfectly he ended all debate on the subject… well no but he did open a can of debate. In fact, some EUC analyst from Gartner jumped on Twitter and suggested that maybe Andre and those that oppose him should debate, live, in front of a live studio audience, while cameras are rolling, podcasts are recording and said analyst is antagonizing both sides of the debate.

To my surprise, Andre accepted. Also, Shawn Bass (Consultant/Genius) decided to join his team to fight for a completely persistent deployment.

On the other side of the debate Jason Langone (VCDX/SE, Nutanix) and Jason Mattox (CTO, Liquidware Labs) decided to fight for complete non-persistent, calling the other team names completely inappropriate for a Gartner blog.


Gunnar, of course I accepted. I would not miss this debate for nothing; even if it’s to be proven I am wrong – but I am not 🙂


To make sure anyone could hear the debate (even those not attending VMworld) I reached out to Gabe Knuth (The non-Madden on to have his team record the debate and post it afterwards. So a big thank you to Gabe and team for doing that.




For those that want to attend, the debate will be held Tuesday from 4-4:45 in the VMware lounge. I am told there is a stage there but that it is a smaller area and it may be standing room only, so you might want to get their early if you want to hear the debate live. I will be taking questions via Twitter as an excuse to be looking at my phone (playing Angry Birds) during the debate.


Please join us in what is definitely going to be a animate and interesting discussion.

If you prefer, read full Gartner article here.


This article was first published by Andre Leibovici (@andreleibovici) at


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    • Pete Mickelonis on 08/23/2013 at 8:35 pm

    I’d love to argue points on why non-persistent desktops are more valuable to a VDI implementation. I believe with ‘proper’ persona management (a healthy mix of folder redirection GPOs ‘and’ third party solutions), there is no need for a persistent desktops.

  1. Pete, I see your point. However, let me ask you something. Are you currently running VDI in your organization? If you are, is it persistent, non-persistent or a combination according to use-case? For non-persistent desktops, how are you creating persistency today?

    • Pete Mickelonis on 08/23/2013 at 10:51 pm

    Andre, thanks for your reply…

    Yes, we are running VMware View in our organization. Currently have have 1,000+ users on the platform with plans to expand soon.

    We have a mix of in-patient room “kiosk” style machines, admittedly nothing needs to be persisted from session to session as we want to ensure after logoff, the machines are back to what our nursing staff expects (nursing does not currently use a ‘follow me desktop’ model).

    We also have hundreds of users (non-kiosk style use case) who do use rich applications in their VDI session. All of which are floating pools set to refresh on logoff.

    Persona is handled a few ways.

    1. We leverage Group Policies heavily. We use folder redirection to redirect the users Desktop, Fav’s, Documents, Links, Contacts, Start Menu, etc… If it’s a folder and we can redirect this to a network share, this is what we do.

    2. We leverage LWL’s Profile Unity product to handle, ThinApp applications, capture printers the user may have installed, and any HKCU values that need to be captured and injected during the user logon process.

    3. Thinapp sandbox’s are located in %homeshare%\..\VMware\application_name

    When the users logoff VDI, and later log back on they have absolutely no idea that they are on a different machine, but they are =)

    Thanks, and look forward to meeting you on TAM day!


  2. This is just my personal experience but when I visit clients for initial EUC design workshops they say they require fully persistent desktops.

    Following on from the desktop assessment phase (Liquidware Labs Stratusphere FIT – a great tool) and requirements gathering phase it becomes apparent in our design that we can usually accommodate large percentages of their users with a non-persistent desktop with Group Policy, Persona Management, LWL Profile Unity and FlexApp or ThinApp to provide the user personalization.

    The remaining use cases such as IT staff, developers etc we usually end up going with persistent desktops, or Horizon Mirage in some recent deployments.

    The refresh on log off feature and the fact that users with desktop issues can just log off and log back on to a “brand new” refreshed desktop is one of the features that resonates best with our clients IT help desk departments. We usually find that time to resolution for user desktop issues is drastically reduced with the non-persistent model.

  3. Pete, let me see where to start.

    Even when you say you offer persistent desktops, you are not. Being able to offload and redirect documents, Links, Contacts, Start Menu etc.., doesn’t make your desktop persistent. The concept of persistent is related to the ability to let users change anything, including installing applications and having them to persist across sessions. If you are using floating desktops, they are not persistent.

    You are running your VDI environment in favor of IT, not in favor of your users.

    Now, even if this model works for your organizations, trying to scale the engineering team to support hundreds or thousands of thinapp or xenapp packaging, install, update, upgrade etc.. will be a daunting task that will require an army or engineers. I know of large organizations with a team of 4 people just to maintain applications in VDI environment.

    In addition to that, you now have an environment that you have to manage in a completely different way than all your physical workstations. Why not just utilize the same methods? What is the real benefit of cleaning desktops and make knowledge workers cringe of the fact they don’t have control over their desktop?

    The technology is here to support persistent desktops in very efficient manner, and less complex than adding a number of workarounds and tools.


  4. Arran,

    “The refresh on log off feature and the fact that users with desktop issues can just log off and log back on to a “brand new” refreshed desktop is one of the features that resonates best with our clients IT help desk departments.”

    Your comment resonates perfectly to me; and this is the whole problem. IT is competing with consumer services today because internal IT is not effective and does not offer choice. This is the typical approach where IT is just trying to make things easier for themselves, without pondering the impact on users from a usability and productivity standpoints.


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