Living in a VDI Desktop – The user experience

As a Citrix employee I get a choice; not only can I take my pick of my own device , for the record I have a HP Elitebook 8440p with 8 GB RAM and solid state HD running Windows 7 SP1 64-bit.  But I can also select how my applications are delivered to me; hosted, streamed offline etc.

When I first started at Citrix, over 5 years ago, I had just about everything locally installed by IT on my laptop, this was then shipped to my remote office (home) and away I went.  All apps were available as hosted applications but for me Office was installed locally and everything else, e.g. SAP was hosted on Presentation Server.  I had device flexibility in that I could get to my hosted apps from any device with an ICA client but because of the way I worked remotely this rarely happened.

Things changed as our technology changed e.g. accelerated access to mapped drives was cool, improved performance of hosted apps was always appreciated and the new version of Office arriving streamed made a difference.   A difference in that I started to add additional apps to my local pool.

Then over eighteen months ago I decided to move my full working day into a virtual desktop.  I had been using XenDesktop before but not exclusively, I would chop and change between environments depending upon task.  But it felt like the right time to move so after a quick copy of a few files away I went.

The experience has been good for a number of reasons.  Firstly as a remote employee working from a home office, I never worry about mapped drives, centrally stored content or the device I am working from.  It’s not unusual to find me outside having pinched my wife’s Mac book working on a document in our garden; it’s a pleasant place to be and my laptop stays docked.  As I navigate through tasks launching multiple applications the interaction is familiar and easy and from a user experience point of view I have few complaints.

Do I still use my local device, sure over the year and a half I have dropped into a local browser to run video content and a presentation or two.  Outside of that it’s really the personal stuff that I use locally, I access Facebook via my local browser, I have a local Twitter client and Skype for family calls when I am away.  My work desktop is thousands of kilometres away and to be honest I’m keeping it that way.

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