Will VDI technology ever be mainstream?

Will VDI ever be mainstream?

Five experts ponder the future of VDI technology.

With the influx of mobile devices in the enterprise and the growth of cloud computing, VDI has an uncertain future.

Despite the benefits of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and the technology's maturity, the "year of VDI" that many observers perennially expected still hasn't arrived. Plenty of companies have virtualized at least some of their PCs, but some organizations doing VDI find that storage requirements, cost and deployment complexity hinder their projects.

To get a clearer picture of where VDI technology is headed, we asked five desktop virtualization experts whether VDI will ever be mainstream. Each offered a fresh perspective, but they agreed that other technology will outrun VDI and that -- at least today -- it's being deployed more than you might think.

Table of contents:

Alastair Cooke: It's already mainstream

Alastair Cooke

Just because there are more physical than virtual PCs in enterprises doesn't mean VDI isn't mainstream, IT trainer and consultant Alastair Cooke said. "There are hundreds of companies using VDI to deliver value to their users," he said. Plus, the addition of new devices, such as tablets, simply provides another interface from which users can access a virtual desktop.

Read Cooke's full response and learn how VDI adoption delivers value.

Serdar Yegulalp: Other technology will eclipse VDI

Serdar Yegulalp

Serdar Yegulalp, a freelance technology writer, said VDI has a place in many environments, but other technology will likely overtake it before it gets too mainstream. Desktop virtualization provides centralized management, flexibility and even cost savings, but "VDI will be a niche technology or a transitory one," he said. The deployment complexity and storage costs are too much for many organizations.

Read Yegulalp's full response to learn about other VDI challenges.

Gabe Knuth: VDI will never be the standard

Gabe Knuth

With so many ways to deliver desktops and applications these days, VDI will never be the go-to method, said Gabe Knuth, an independent industry analyst and blogger. That's because it's only useful in certain situations -- not all. In places where it provides better manageability and reduces costs, Knuth said, VDI will continue to be "commonly used in IT's never-ending quest for the best possible desktop management solution."

Read Knuth's full response to learn why VDI won't be the standard.

Ed Tittel: Desktop as a Service will boost VDI

Ed Tittel

Virtual desktop adoption could get a boost as more companies move to the cloud, said Ed Tittel and Earl Follis, freelance writers and consultants. "We see the day coming when most enterprise companies will have some or all of their user desktops running on VDI, most likely in a cloud-based form," they said. That's because cloud-based VDI, called Desktop as a Service, eliminates many of the frustrations of deploying and managing in-house virtual desktops.

Read Tittel and Follis' full response about Desktop as a Service.

Matt Kosht: VDI won't take off for five reasons

Matt Kosht

VDI remains a niche use case because it still relies on Windows and other delivery methods, such as session-hosted virtualization, provide less complexity. Plus, Microsoft licensing often gets in the way of saving money through VDI. "There are also simpler, less expensive alternatives to VDI for use cases that do require a full, persistent Windows desktop," said IT manager Matt Kosht.

Read Kosht's full response to see which other desktop delivery methods trump VDI.