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January 11, 2016

What you can expect of the Modern Workspace in 2016

Ruben Spruijt - Atlantis

I truly love IT. With so many things happening in this incredible space it’s not always easy to see the bigger picture. I hope you find my view on what’s going to happen in the Modern Workspace and its reality in 2016 valuable and cuts through the hype in with a small investment of time.

User Experience Is King

You, me and our customers - we - are KING in the modern workspace. The business consumer is leading and directs the functionality of the workspace in the corporate environment. Social collaboration solutions, unified communications, smart content sharing applications and mobile apps are the new norm in the enterprise. Machine-to-Machine communication, connected sensors, better insights via analytics and IT self-service will boost productivity. The old world where IT owns the device, where IT leads and dictates, where security above User Experience is going away. The workspace is where e-mail and document management are the only real collaboration platforms and where work will no longer be a place.  In the modern workspace, user experience is KING and productivity and flexibility is QUEEN.

Diversity Is the New Normal

We work anytime, on any device, anywhere possible and at any hour. “Work isn’t a place it’s something you do.” Most business consumers now have three or four different devices such as a laptop, tablet, mobile and even wearable devices. We are productive, informed or notified on different devices with different applications and different connections to applications, data sources or machines makes perfect sense in today’s modern world. Device, OS and application diversity is ordinary – entropy is happening. With platforms like Indiegogo, Kickstarter with new and yet to discover devices, IT needs to get used to the diverse world of the business consumer and our modern workspace. Watch for an aggregated workspace – combining SaaS/Web, Mobile, Windows.  Data in a dynamic secure interface is an important asset in the modern workspace. It delivers applications and data in a simple and secure fashion to the business consumer. The modern workspace is the engine of the digital workplace for today’s workforce.

No One Workspace – Get Used to It

The concept of ‘one’ company workspace standard to ‘rule them all’ is legacy as there isn’t one standard. The standard workspace must include Desktop Virtualization, Application Remoting, physical PCs, laptops, mobile devices – with various levels of IT support and management on each platform. The standard operating system is now Windows10, Windows7, OSX, iOS and Android.
Current PC lifecycle management solutions such as SCCM and Application Virtualization solutions such as VMware ThinApp or App-V are commonly used in today’s workspace along with one or more ‘User Environment Management’ solutions. These solutions include simplistic Microsoft tools or more complete solutions from Appsense, Citrix, RES Software or VMware. New approaches to solve the workspace deployment and management stack are on the horizon. Layering solutions and a new breed of Application Virtualization, with less isolation and different distribution are gaining in popularity. Keep in mind that the motto of the IT-department in 2016 should be: “We are Q in James Bond; make the users super productive and happy.”

Security Is (Still) Critical

Corporate support of the device in the enterprise will diminish meanwhile at the same time, secure delivery of applications and desktops while protecting core data will rise. Protecting the modern workspace, the user’s identity and core organizational assets won’t work with the traditional mind-set and classic security solutions. IT needs to focus with Micro Segmentation, Network Function Virtualization, Digital Rights Management (DRM), 2-Factor Authentication, Identity and Access Management. Our key challenge is that if we just focus on security, we will end up with less security. For security, we must focus on User Experience first.

Windows 10 Is Here

Windows 7 is currently the default for both physical and virtual desktop environments. Microsoft hitting the 200M number with Windows 10 is mainly because of consumer (free) upgrades. Based on conversations with large customers and industry insights the adoption and usage of Windows 10 in the enterprise will boost starting 2nd half 2016 and continue in 2017. The future of Microsoft looks bright.

The Marriage of All Flash and Hyperconverged

Simple, cost efficient, low risk and high performance - for every application and virtual workspace seems too good to be true. This marriage defined in heaven is now here.  Appliances such as Atlantis HyperScale combine Solid State – Flash into Hyperconverged Infrastructure (HCI). Software Defined Storage (SDS) such as Atlantis USX combine real-time, in-line in-memory data services that seriously increase performance and storage capacity for all applications, both in workspace and datacenter. It also will make life of the IT-Professional much easier as there are less moving parts resulting in less risk through updating & upgrading.   It will turn economics of the virtual workspace upside down finally having virtualized environments for LESS. Hyperconverged and Software Defined are the core building blocks in 2016. Don’t settle for less otherwise your replacement will do it for you.

What Else Is Coming?

  1. Windows 7 is the standard - While Windows 10 adoption will increase, Windows 7 is and will be the standard for most of the virtual workspace deployments in the enterprise at least until 2020. Windows is dead. Not dead at least with the 99% of the large and smaller customers I speak regularly. Some estimates of Windows in the enterprise show Windows Apps usage ratio is greater than 80%, Web/SaaS between 5 and 10% and mobile business applications is ~5%. Be prepared to deliver, manage and support Windows x86 applications 2020 and far beyond.
  2. IT infrastructure as a Service - More and more virtual workspace infrastructure solutions will be delivered overtime as a (public cloud) service. Citrix Workspace Cloud (CWC) and VMware’s ‘Project: Enzo’ are good examples of a 1st glimpse of these platforms. The biggest challenges right now are the actual delivery of the product and the price.
  3. DaaS and SaaS - Remote application delivery and Desktop as a Service market will grow but 2016 won’t be the year of DaaS. Hint - 2017 won’t be the year either.  Almost every organization is using SaaS, or their business consumers are using it without informing the IT department and ‘SaaS first strategy’ is happening. Identity Management and Workspace Aggregation are core building blocks.
  4. Virtual Workspace adoption increases - True VDI and SBC adoption are increasing and it will continue to increase in 2016.  Keep in mind that this market is and will be a much smaller segment (~10%) compared to the Billion++ rich-client PC market.  Latest developments such as remoting protocols suitable every network and developments around 3D Graphics will slowly drive adoption and usage. The biggest competitor isn't Citrix vs VMware, it's the physical PC. Make Virtual Workspace better, cheaper, faster than PC
  5. GPU in every virtual workspace - Won’t happen soon. In 2016 GPU and Virtual Workspace won’t go to the masses. GPU in every virtual workspace needs to be cheaper and there needs to be more competition with better server hardware vendor support across the board. Check out to receive more insights in the hot market segment.
  6. Pooled VDI is legacy - Personal VDI is being used in most of the large environments, especially in the Citrix XenDesktop environments. Personal virtual workspaces are managed with the same solutions as in the physical world. From an application packaging, management and support perspective, this is straight-forward and easy. Be aware on impact on storage, both capacity and performance. Solid-state and SDS are your friends in 2016.
  7. Flash Performance Everywhere - The right data services, such as real-time in-line, in-memory de-duplication and compression are key for the performance boost and storage capacity savings. Why settle with ‘meh’ performance when you can get flash performance for less money?  Expect awesome performance for every application and every user in 2016.
  8. Micro-Virtualization - Micro-virtualization solutions and state-of the art security technology in Windows 10 will help in securing the business consumer with his corporate device. New security solutions are needed in the fast changing world or ransomware, identity theft and Hacking as a Service (HaaS)
  9. SAN and NAS is dead. Well, maybe not dead, but declining in the virtual workspace space. Local Solid State drives combined with Software Defined Storage software in a Hyperconverged infrastructure is used in large and smaller (SME) environments. These are scalable, high performing, cost efficient and simple. Are you still on SAN/NAS? Are you experiencing poor performance or in the process of upgrading your SAN/NAS? There are much better alternatives.
  10. Layering - Current Application Virtualization, PC lifecycle management and User Environment Management solutions will stay standard in 2016. Newer and quite often better layering solutions for delivery and management of Windows Applications and Operating System will remain niche. Adoption of layering solutions from Citrix, FSLogix, Unidesk and VMware is rising, but there isn’t a huge turnaround in 2016. It is valuable to understand the value of these solutions and the problems these solutions solve.
Do you know where to start with your Modern Workspace?!: Think BIG, Start SMALL, Move FAST – start TODAY. Enjoy!
Ruben Spruijt – CTO – Atlantis Computing. | @rspruijt
PS; Every month I will share my CTO Top10 with an overview of articles, news sources, social media streams, blogs and whitepapers it’s definitely worth reading.  You can find these monthly blogs here.
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