Posted by: Alan Perlman
Application Virtualization, CDW, Intel, Microsoft, Presentation Virtualization, VDI, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, VMware
So today we start our VDI Trender blog and we feel compelled at the outset to state that VDI Trender is a bit of a misnomer in that VDI is one of the desktop virtualization solutions we will be talking about here, but not necessarily the only one. As we get talk to more and more people about VDI, we believe that VDI is often used as a catchall for a variety of different types of solutions. It is also the one that receives the most attention because it is the one that the big-name companies – i.e., VMware and Microsoft, to name the most prominent– tend to use most often in their marketing efforts. It is also the one that the pundits such as Gartner and Forrester have identified as “the next big thing” in client computing. But VDI, or Virtual Desktop Infrastructure to be complete, is but one approach to desktop virtualization and we shall attempt to talk about all of them here.
We thought about this as the starting point for our blog because of a couple of things: (1) In our most recent research into the topic we came across a survey by CDW that we thought should get more attention because of some of the numbers (quite compelling) and (2) because of an interview we listened to over the weekend with an Intel executive in the UK talking about some of these very same points. We’ll focus on the CDW research today and the Intel interview in our next post on Wednesday.
In September 2010 CDW surveyed 200 managers at medium and large businesses to understand what they describe as client virtualization – note how they avoid using the specific term VDI. We thought the numbers were pretty impressing – 90 percent of those responding to the survey said they are either implementing or considering implementing at least one form of client virtualization. The most critical driving factor was reducing costs, followed by easier software distribution, increased IT productivity and improved IT support. Of those that have already implemented some form of client virtualization, the average savings are slightly more than 20 percent of their total IT budget.
When CDW asked about client virtualization, they attempted to divide the types of solutions into three main categories, which gets back to my early point about what exactly is VDI and how does it fit in as a defined term by IT professionals. This is the language used by CDW for its client virtualization categories:
Presentation Virtualization: Enables users, usually remote workers, to use the organization’s network and, if authorized, access all applications that reside within the corporate data center through a Web-based portal.
Application Virtualization: Describes applications that are packaged into single executables that run completely isolated from each other and the operating systems for conflict-free execution on end-point devices.
Desktop Virtualization: Brings the desktop operating systems and applications into the data center, so that all of the processing power is hosted in the data center. As long as users can access the Internet, they have access to the business applications.
Note that even in the “Desktop Virtualization” definition, the language used is not VDI or Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.
We think a couple of things:
1. This is way more confusing than it needs to be. Not sure if it’s because of the hype surrounding VDI as a term or the lack of clarity in various solutions, but markets tend to jell around topics and solutions people can actually articulate and understand.
2. Who are these 90 percent of IT managers are what are they actually doing with client virtualization? That is quite a large number and much higher than you would expect based on actual deployments and/or sales – particularly considering that the survey was fielded about eight months ago. My sense: Yes, a lot of people are “considering” client virtualization because they are supposed to be considering client virtualization.
What do you think? Is the language in this market more confusing than it needs to be? Are 90 percent of companies really ready to do something about client virtualization? And how about VDI – what does it really mean to you? Please comment and share your thoughts. And, if you want to check out the CDW Survey: CDW Client Virtualization Straw Poll.