The Techster is getting ready to move offices so it’s been a time of cleaning out files, which is always fun. I have in front of me a list of Gartner’s Top Ten strategic technologies for 2010 and 2009 and it’s interesting to see kind of where things crossed over in terms of VDI. In 2009, while virtualization was number one on the list, there was really no mention of desktops or clients at all. It was all about server virtualization. By 2010, client computing had made the Top Ten chart, debuting at Number Three.
This was what made client virtualization so important all of a sudden, according to Gartner: “Enterprises need to develop a five- to eight-year client computing roadmap before making near-term decisions such as whether or how to upgrade client hardware or move to Windows 7. The progression of desktop virtualization technology and the range of devices available make this an important analysis. Build a strategic client computing roadmap bringing all issues and devices together, or you will be following vendor roadmaps.”
I also recall in this period between 2009 and 2010 Gartner made the bold prediction that virtual hosted desktops would account for 40 percent of the worldwide professional PC market by the end of 2013. Things will have to happen quite quickly for that prediction to come true. So, we these old market reports staring me in the face and awaiting disposal to the nearest trash can, I turn to Google to see where VDI stands in Gartner’s Top Ten strategic technologies for 2011. Pardon me while I switch to another window. And the answer is . . . big surprise . . . I figured with client computing at Number Three last year and predictions of major growth, certainly it would make the Top Five this year, perhaps even number two or three behind the obvious Number One, cloud computing . . . still, the answer is . . . nada. VDI, or desktop virtualization, or client virtualization, or however you want to characterize it, is nowhere on the list of Gartner’s Top Ten technology initiatives for 2011. Go figure. What are the Top 10:
What do you think? Has VDI fallen off the radar screen? Most research shows that 80 to 90 percent of IT professionals are either deploying some form or desktop virtualization or considering it. Wouldn’t that seem to be an important trend? Or am I just prejudiced because the name of my blog is VDI Trender?]]>
What are the real business benefits of VDI? If you ask most IT professionals they’ll probably tell you lower costs. In that CDW survey I mentioned in an earlier post, 61 percent of respondents said their main driver in considering or implementing client virtualization is to reduce overall costs. But, if cost reductions are to take place in a VDI environment – and that is certainly no guarantee – the reality is that any savings in costs will be much more of a long-term, potential benefit of VDI and will have to take into account a lot of hard-to-quantify costs such as improved business agility, more productive IT workers, more productive office workers, higher availability, reduced downtime, etc., etc., etc.
One could make the case that if you are looking at VDI just to cut costs, perhaps you should look elsewhere. With VDI you will perhaps save money on client hardware – definitely if you go to a thin client model – but you will also likely have to make a significant investment in upgrading your storage, servers and network infrastructures. When you centralize applications, operating systems and user data in the data center and stream them to users – highly demanding users – all around the world, you better make sure the capacity and bandwidth are up to the task. For most organizations this will mean a major up-front investment. The vendors will tell you it’s a wise investment because today’s technology solutions can offer very fast ROI and deliver much greater performance. And they are right: Shifting to a new client model is a perfect time to invest in infrastructure and the ROI they can show you with virtualization is pretty staggering. But it is an investment nonetheless and one that must be accounted for in IT budgets.
One could also make the case that the real value of VDI is in IT retaking control of the client environment. The other major/related benefits are much better management of the client environment and the opportunity to put in place an infrastructure that can ease major transitions and, in a way, shift the way organizations think about their client computing infrastructures. What’s taking place now with Windows 7 migration is a good example. In order to get users up and running on the new operating system, organizations will likely have to replace most of their machines, now or eventually, because each new operating system is designed to obsolete the previous generation – with heftier hardware requirements, more memory, new generations of applications, and all the other stuff IT professionals are all too familiar with. Again, this is generally a good thing: We all benefit from these advances and tomorrow’s data centers will be much more efficient and responsive to business needs than today’s. The foundation for cloud-based services, agile businesses and all of the other buzzwords to describe next-generation IT is being put in place with the latest technology solutions.
But getting there from here is a challenge, right? Not only will current devices need to be replaced, in many instances IT pros will have to do the replacing, physically taking out each machine and putting another one in place, making sure it is properly provisioned, making sure each application is working as it should. Gartner says the migration process should take as long as 18 months. And of course, the process doesn’t end there. Each time a new version of an application is rolled out, IT has to go through the client infrastructure and make sure it works and make sure users are on the current version, with the latest patches. Then, of course, Windows 8 will be right around the corner and IT will get to do it all over again. Say this about the process: It’s good for IT job security.
VDI, of course, offers an alternative. What is that? Stay tuned Friday for our next post.]]>
If you do a Google search on VDI Worldwide Revenue the article the comes up over and over and over again is a report from Gartner from March 26, 2009. The numbers are quite staggering and fascinating as well. A little more than two years ago Gartner predicted that the worldwide market for VDI devices, which it called Hosted Virtual Desktop, would be . . . ready for this . . . 49 million units by the end of 2013, representing 40 percent of the worldwide professional PC market.
I’ve tried many different searches on the topic, and that’s the one that keeps coming up. So, when marketers and researchers and reporters and writers are doing their overviews on the VDI market, these are the figures that keep getting repeating, almost as if they are fact. Think of it is virtual desktop reality or desktop virtual reality
In truth, I imagine you’d be hard pressed to find anyone, particularly the prognosticators at Gartner, who would buy into any of those numbers today. When I use this research in discussing VDI with people I put the numbers in the context of “gee, look at some of the hype that has taken place in this market.”
Which is not to say I don’t believe in the concept, the potential or the benefits of VDI. I do. That’s why I’m here, doing this blog. But, it would be nice and quite helpful if someone – Gartner, IDC? – would go back and look once again at the numbers, in the context of, here it is two years later, what does the market really look like, the reality market not the virtual reality market. I’d love to see what current deployments look like and what IT organizations are really expecting over the next couple of years. It’s particularly interesting in light of both the earlier hype and also the impact that Windows 7 migration might have on VDI sales, i.e., maybe more organizations will look again at VDI rather than keep going through the ever-repeating migration cycle of new operating systems, new applications, new hardware.
What do you think? Is anyone out there familiar with other research on VDI revenue and market potential? Speak now or forever hold your piece. You are, indeed, allowed to comment on the site.]]>