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What does the future of VDI hold in 2017?

One expert believes 2017 will see VDI shops shift their attention toward graphics-intensive apps and a more widespread adoption of desktop as a service.

With 2016 in the books and 2017 on the horizon it's the perfect time to gaze into the VDI crystal ball.

Will this finally be the year of desktop as a service? How can VDI shops better deal with hybrid deployments that combine on-premises and cloud-based desktops? And what can admins do about the increasing number of graphics-intensive virtual apps?

Here's what Robert Young, a research analyst at IDC, had to say about what 2017 will look like for VDI shops, including the rise of desktop as a service (DaaS) and the growing importance of delivering graphics-intensive applications:

Here come DaaS and workspaces

Simple mainstream apps like Microsoft PowerPoint need 3D capabilities now in some cases.

DaaS should have steady growth as larger companies embrace the technology. It will also expand into workspace as a service.

You'll see a layer on top of enterprise mobility management (EMM) that aggregates all the different levels of virtual apps into a workspace portal. The workspace portal is where users will interact with their virtual resources. It's really about convergence for admins. They will have EMM and PC lifecycle management in one place for a more unified workspace. It will also bring everything you need to manage all the different operating systems and endpoint devices in one place.

How to get the most bang for your VDI buck

Workspaces will also make single sign-on a reality. And admins can manage identities better and identify where users are and what resources they actually need access to. They can deliver users only the exact resources they need.

Along the same lines of unified management, look for machine learning and analytics to make a splash for VDI shops. Admins will have to learn how to bring these things into the fold because they can really help with troubleshooting.

Manage your diverse VDI deployment

Another thing to look out for is the rise of hybrid desktop deployments that bring Amazon Web Services, on premises and Microsoft Azure desktops under one roof. And within that, hyper-converged infrastructure will be important because a lot of organizations want to keep their infrastructure on premises. The value proposition for hyper-converged infrastructure is great. By bringing everything into one package it really reduces the cost and complexity. And, a big reason VDI projects fail is that you have to cobble together the storage, compute and networking. Hyper-converged infrastructure brings that all together in one package.

Graphics-intensive apps go mainstream

Finally, the rise of graphics intensive apps with Windows 10 and in general is going to be important. A lot of Windows 10 apps call for 3D or 4D graphics and it's not just limited to computer-aided design anymore. Simple mainstream apps like Microsoft PowerPoint need 3D capabilities now in some cases. VDI shops have to be able to render these graphics so NVIDIA Grid will become increasingly important. And VDI shops need to be able to render apps on virtual reality devices and wearables.

Next Steps

Your guide to cloud-hosted desktops

How to make graphics rendering easier

In-depth look at GPU virtualization

This was last published in December 2016

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