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What are the biggest barriers to VDI adoption and acceptance?

Users and management have ideas about what desktops should look and feel like, and VDI might not fit that bill. Add the upfront costs and you've got some serious barriers to VDI adoption.

There is a ceiling on the VDI adoption rate because not everyone has a use case that suits it. But there are also...

some stumbling blocks stopping VDI from taking over the desktop world.

From an end-user standpoint, the biggest objection to VDI is usually the loss of control. Some users have a sense of ownership over their physical desktops, and they may not like the idea of surrendering their rule to a virtual desktop environment.

When it comes to getting the buy-in from upper management and perhaps even from senior IT staff, the protest may be related to a stigma that has long surrounded VDI. In the early days, VDI tended to be complicated, expensive and unreliable, and it often performed poorly. But like anything else in IT, VDI has matured over time and today, it works really well. Even so, some people still believe that VDI is unreliable.

Another barrier to VDI adoption is -- understandably -- the price.

The cost of VDI has decreased considerably over the years, and now the price of a virtual desktop is on par with a physical one. If you pay $800 per physical desktop, then you can probably get a virtual desktop for about the same. Purchasing physical PCs is a pay-as-you-go investment, however. You can say the same about virtual desktop licenses, but an organization typically has to invest in hypervisors, connection brokers, load balancers, storage and more before it can deploy the first virtual desktop. Even though the average cost of a virtual desktop might be the same as that of a physical desktop, virtual desktops involve a large up-front investment.

Cloud services also affect VDI adoption and acceptance; many organizations considering virtual desktops also look at cloud-hosted desktops and ultimately decide that letting a third-party provider handle the infrastructure and host desktops for them better fits their needs.

This was last published in March 2015

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Have you been able to overcome the barriers to VDI adoption or did your project never get off the ground?
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Yes. The greatest VDI barrier is the storage cost. Rather than spend on traditional VDI storage which include storage/server silos as well as SAN and NAS systems which are quite expensive, I use the cheaper server-side storage such as flash-based, SDD or HDD together with data management architecture that gets rid of single point failure.
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In our VDI experience, non-adoption is due to 2 factors: cost and users. Users hate giving up their desktops, and the business wants free service.
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