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What technology trends had the biggest impact on VDI in 2013?

Five experts call out the biggest developments of the year in the VDI market.

In 2013, there were plenty of trends and new technologies that may help give virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) a bigger slice of the desktop delivery pie. At the least, VDI is becoming more practical in different kinds of organizations, thanks to the advent of virtualized GPU technology, new storage systems and a renewed focus on application delivery.

As another year winds down, we asked five desktop virtualization experts to share which technologies, trends or events they think had the biggest impact on VDI. Read what each one had to say about the top advancements of 2013.

Kees Baggerman

1. Hailing hyper-converged infrastructure

New hyper-converged infrastructure offerings this year help simplify virtual desktop infrastructure deployment. These products come with few components, and most importantly, they make it easier to scale VDI up or out, said Kees Baggerman, a senior technical consultant.

Alastair Cooke

2. Solid-state storage in the spotlight

This year has seen many more storage devices that are tailored to VDI workloads, particularly solid-state storage. They can provide more IOPS per user, which allows for a much better virtual desktop user experience. Alastair Cooke, an IT trainer and consultant, said that while a lot of smaller companies have jumped on this trend, larger ones will likely be entering the market soon.

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    Will others join the solid-state storage space?

    "In the second half of the year, we saw the emergence of more offerings to bring solid-state storage closer to the hypervisor," Cooke said. "The next phase will be when the innovations that are developed by startups become sufficiently compelling and accepted so that the larger storage companies take notice."


Earl Follis

3. Going to bat for DaaS

Is there enough room in the virtual desktop technology world for both traditional, in-house VDI and cloud-hosted desktops? Freelance writer and consultant Earl Follis takes on a colleague in this battle over the future of VDI. While his friend thinks there's room for both VDI and Desktop as a Service (DaaS), Follis argues that the benefits of DaaS will make it a clear winner in the coming years.

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    Will DaaS eventually win out over VDI?

    "My research concludes that the complexity of VDI, the upfront costs to build the necessary infrastructure and a murky return on investment proposition are the most common VDI roadblocks," Follis said. "Desktop as a Service offers relief on all three of those fronts."


Todd Knapp

4. VDI still has a ways to go

What had the biggest impact on VDI this year? Nothing, said Todd Knapp, CEO of Envision Technology Advisors. That's because VDI still has a lot of challenges to overcome before it will truly see greater adoption. To help VDI work in more organizations, IT needs to realize that it's all about the users.

Ed Tittel

5. Lines blur between DaaS and VDI

As IT and the public find more trust in the cloud, the line between Desktop as a Service and VDI has blurred. The two technologies may be more like one and the same in the future, because in-house will be more like "my cloud" and DaaS will just be "someone else's cloud," said Ed Tittel, a freelance writer and consultant.

2013 wrap-ups

6. More desktop virtualization year-end coverage

Announcements from VMware, Amazon and Citrix stole the spotlight in this year's top 10 news stories. Plus, read about two of the most significant trends in VDI this year -- graphics virtualization and cloud-hosted desktops.