This is the year of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) in the mid-market, according to a survey from Dimensional Research and commissioned by Pivot3, a provider of VDI storage and compute appliances. The study found that more than 80% of respondents consider VDI as part of their IT strategy, with reduced costs and faster deployments the key adoption points.
“Every year they’ve been saying this is the year of VDI, but finally, we’re starting to see it take off,” said Olivier Thierry, Pivot3 CMO. “When we ran the study we expected to see it was still politicized, the complexities still there, and the costs. Quite honestly what we got back was we get it.”
Desktop virtualization, the software technology that separates the desktop environment and associated application software from the physcial client devices used to access it, has been around for years, and for almost as long there have been predictions of its widespread adoption. The reality has been a case of overblown hype and lukewarm market acceptance.
According to a recent blog from analyst Andrew Wood, The Virtualization Practice, 2010 was going to be the year of VDI: but it turned out 2010 was just a practice. 2011 was going to the year of VDI: but 2011 was also, just a practice. We discussed if 2012 was the “year of VDI”: with a view that 2012 allowed for the supporting technologies to mature and crucially expectations to be better set as to what VDI could do. It could not save the world. It could not secure your universe. But it was a viable method of fast desktop delivery (important given that almost 40% Windows market share is still clock ticking XP ) and less cluttered maintenance and support.
In 2010 Gartner reported that more than 80% of enterprises have a virtualization program or project, and estimated that there will be as many as 20 million virtual desktops in place by 2014. In 2011 CDW found that 90% of businesses are considering or implementing client virtualization projects, with 61% looking to reduce IT costs, 40% seeking easier distribution of software, 38% aiming for increased IT productivity, and 37% wanting to improve IT support services.
However, VDI sales have been slow. Last year IDC predicted that the virtual client computing market will grow from $2.3 billion in 2011 to over $3 billion by 2015, with nearly a third of that coming from the centralized virtual desktop market (VDI).
So why the optimism for 2013? The midmarket is looking at VDI and convergence because that’s how they operate, said Thierry. The IT guy tends to be converged, and not just responsible for storage, computing or networking. “We now deliver the performance worth the risk of going forward.”
Secondly, Pivot3, which has shipped 7,000 unified storage and compute appliances to more than 600 customers since opening its doors in 2003, is starting to see the pipeline reflect that newfound interest in VDI. “We think that this could be the year of VDI appliances for the midmarket.”
According to the Dimensional Research survey, the top three benefits most often cited for VDI adoption included easier maintenance and support, faster deployment of desktops and reduced hardware costs. For desired VDI deployment models, 66%t prefer an internal and secure VDI deployment over Desktop-as-a-Service (18%), hybrid cloud (12%) and public cloud (4%).
The study found that VDI adoption picking up pace: more than 39% are currently using VDI, while an additional 40% are considering it and including it in their respective IT strategies. As for the ‘midmarket’, 80% of companies with 5,000 or less employees reported that VDI is potentially on the horizon.
Looking ahead, Thierry believes Microsoft Windows 8 will force organizations to look closely at their refresh plans. “Desktop teams have to get thinking about refresh cycles. That’s another element I believe is driving why the midmarket is so interested in VDI over the next year.”