73% of Companies Investigating Virtual Desktop Infrastructure

vdi1…and about 70% have launched VDI solutions to at least some of their user groups already. Gartner says the worldwide hosted virtual desktop (HVD) market will accelerate through 2013 to reach 49 million units, up from more than 500,000 units in 2009.  And that worldwide HVD revenue will grow from 1% to 40% of the worldwide professional PC market.

Consider the large numbers here.  WOW !  Cost cutting advantages and simplified/centralized management are driving them to do this investigation (see “Cost-Cutting Potential of VDI” at http://ow.ly/nNlv).

At the same time there are some obsticles holding up the move to VDI which the desktop brings — that servers and storage did not — since there are many more moving parts to the desktop.

Top barriers to implementing VDI have included …

  • UNFAMILIARITY WITH CURRENT TECHNOLOGY – Companies don’t know where VDI can bring the biggest impact and most good.   And there are many choices out there for VDI solutions.  Do I have to choose one platform or Is there any flexibility?   There is lots of flexibility out there and the key will be to outline “what you want” and then compare the techonologies out there to narrow it down.   And for God’s sake – pilot it, make sure it does what you want it to – and let your users participate in the pilot so they give you a point of view that admins won’t usually have. (ie. performance, ease of use, configurability, …)
  • USER EXPERIENCE – Users want and need to configure their own work environments to enable the highest level of productivity.  But administrators resist the migration of the many individual desktop configurations to a single desktop image that everyone uses.  Is there a happy medium? Yes, VDI techonologies now allow “pools of desktop configurations” to be setup for users to choose from.  And they allows you to setup a desktop image that everyone starts with, then allow users to add software to their configuration as needed.  And a plus is users can access their desktop from anywhere, leveraging VDI for remote users and offshore users.
  • SECURITY – A common question is “How do I keep the desktop secure?”   Some will say “lock it down” – don’t let the users change anything at all.   I’ve found that it depends on the kind of users you have.   Software developers have different needs than a 1st level Helpdesk personel answer the phone.  VDI technology allows for both worlds – so piloting will be critical so you can test the with your range of users.
  • PERFORMANCE – It’s slow compared to local resources.  VDI technologies are configurable just like a physical desktop is.  You want 6 GB RAM for a user AND/OR 300GB storage space – then give it to them.  It is all configurable to bring the performance that users need.
  • INFRASTRUCTURE LOAD – Yes the network and centralized servers and storage resources are hit more than with physical desktops.  Naturally when the WAN is utilized more then bandwidth and performance issues must be dealt with, but you can adjust optimization and acceleration technologies to suit both applications and operating systems.  Newer technology allows  service over thousands of miles without hitting significant network latency, packet loss or other hang-ups.  You can also deploy desktop software without network changes or hardware upgrades when you manage it centrally on desktop images you configure to access remotely.

While VDI is taking off, the barriers are being either eliminated or greatly alleviated with new generations of VDI technology and maintains a significant cost advantage over tricked-out PCs on everyone’s desk.

Centralized architectures are the wave of the future because they are both cheaper and easier to manage — and that holds true for the desktop just as much as for servers and storage. The difference is that the desktop is where users live, so will be felt more deeply.   But that doesn’t make it any less necessary.

See Wikepedia “Virtual Desktop Infrastructure” (for a great list of technologies)  http://ow.ly/nOwb

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