Slow VDI adoption rate could get a boost from Desktop as a Service

Cost and management challenges have kept many companies from embracing VDI, but VDI adoption could see an increase as DaaS matures.

VDI adoption rates are up for debate. Depending on whom you ask, you might hear that virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is common across all types of enterprises, or you might be told that nobody is deploying virtual desktops.

To help you get a better sense of where VDI is today and how it will -- or won't -- grow in the future, we posed this question to desktop virtualization experts:

Will VDI ever be mainstream?

Ed Tittel and Earl Follis: Over the last two years, VDI has generated significant buzz online and in the minds of IT pros trying to distinguish the VDI meat from the sizzle -- and hype -- that so often surrounds this subject.

One IT manager friend at a large company in Houston who's been running a Citrix VDI implementation for several years told us he has struggled to keep his virtual desktops running smoothly. His issues have ranged from a virus that once infected every virtual desktop in his organization to difficulties finding and keeping qualified technical staff familiar with VDI to arrange for the care and feeding of that infrastructure.

Another roadblock to VDI adoption has been IT budgets constrained by several years of cuts or reductions. VDI requires a more robust back-end infrastructure than more traditional thick clients. Also, that infrastructure is not cheap. VDI with support for disconnected user desktops -- those that are not connected to a network -- requires an even more complex back end. No doubt, the cost and complexity of VDI has been a challenge that has slowed down or stopped more companies when it comes to diving into the VDI pool.

Desktop as a Service to the rescue

One particularly interesting development that promises to change things is cloud-based VDI, also known as Desktop as a Service (DaaS). DaaS makes it possible to move virtual desktops to the cloud, along with other cloud-based applications and infrastructure. DaaS offers all of the advantages of VDI without the frustrations involved in procuring, deploying and managing virtual desktops in-house.

Soon, DaaS companies will refine their business models and prices will come down as the service becomes more mainstream. As VDI technology matures and DaaS becomes widely available, more and more companies should move to VDI. 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.

This was first published in May 2013

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