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Top four VDI trends that dominated 2017

With a new year getting started, these are the top four trends in VDI leading the way. Uncover why user experience and data rich apps took over in 2017.

It's time to take a look back at what 2017 brought the VDI world. This year saw four rising VDI trends that will take center stage moving forward.

Stay one step ahead and learn how understanding the top VDI trends can keep your deployment on the cutting edge.

IT peers into UX with monitoring tools

A positive user experience (UX) increases user productivity, which leads to higher VDI ROI for organizations. If UX is poor, no one will use the virtual desktops, wasting the organization's investment.

VDI shops that use the latest hardware and software can generate the fastest speeds for users on shared workloads. This includes using thin clients that are best designed for the type of work users are doing and the types of applications that assist them in their daily activities.

VDI monitoring tools help ensure a quality UX by giving IT professionals insight into how everything is running so they can pinpoint and resolve problems quickly.

VDI monitoring tools are important to UX because many users can't explain the problems they're experiencing with their virtual desktops. Monitoring tools help IT pros pinpoint an issue, such as an overloaded hypervisor due to simultaneous logins.

Big names made moves this year, including Liquidware and its latest version of Stratusphere UX 6.0, which brought application-specific graphics processing units (GPU) metrics to the UX monitoring tool in 2017.

Make VDI graphic and data rich

Graphics are no longer a luxury only for power users. From augmented reality applications to GIF conversations in a messaging application, all employees require graphics and large amounts of data. Even applications such as Microsoft Office use graphics acceleration now. If the VDI deployment isn't built for heavy lifting, the organization has to invest in expensive endpoint devices that can process most of the data or the systems will slow to a crawl.

VDI shops in 2017 adjusted deployments by investing even more in GPU technology that separates the graphic rendering from the CPU. GPUs support publishing apps, running virtual desktops seamlessly and high-end workstations using resource-intensive applications in the data center.

Making the case for VDI's return on investment

Managing a company's investment in VDI is one of IT's major challenges.

A well-suited remote display protocol is also integral to a graphic and data-intensive VDI deployment. A quality remote display protocol can prevent latency and contention. VMware upgraded security in Blast Extreme, its remote display protocol, by adding port sharing and security certificates. Port sharing enables employees outside the corporate network to connect to one port, which protects the firewall from overuse. Citrix and Microsoft also offer remote display protocols, and there are many third-party options, such as the Parallels Client.

Hyper-converged infrastructure takes center stage

As more applications and security features are designed for hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI), there is more appeal for organizations to adopt the technology. HCI Q1 sales for 2017 grew by 64.7% year over year, according to IDC.

HCI appeals to IT because it combines everything IT has to manage in a virtual desktop deployment -- memory, storage, networking -- into one technology. HCI makes allocating resources in VDI easier because administrators can see both the back-end system as a whole in operation and the individual details, such as the virtual machine configuration within the hypervisor, simultaneously.

Thanks to improvements in storage and cheaper hardware, the price tag on the technology has dropped.

IT can add computing and storage resource clusters, which works well for long-term growth in a company. There are multiple HCI vendors from which IT pros can select a product for their specific needs, including Nutanix, Dell EMC, SimpliVity and VMware. Nutanix was one of the first HCI enterprise offerings, but Dell EMC has been heavily investing in its HCI technology, taking the lead in the market with a 24% share, according to IDC.

VDI trends toward affordability

VDI's high upfront costs have been among the top roadblocks to adoption, leading many organizations to consider traditional PCs as the more fiscally responsible option. Thanks to improvements in storage and cheaper hardware, the price tag on the technology has dropped. Over the years, vendors have also come out with more offerings at different price points, such as Citrix's XenDesktop VDI, Enterprise and Platinum versions, which were updated to version 7.16 in 2017.

More affordable storage options have lowered the cost of VDI. The price of all-flash arrays, for example, which feature deduplication and compression, has gone down. VDI also helps with long-term savings by enabling organizations to use inexpensive thin clients for end-user devices. Released in December 2016, with major updates in 2017, IGEL's UD Pocket, which costs around $169 depending on the retailer, changed thin clients, reducing them to the size of a paperclip.

VDI also opens up the opportunity for organizations to implement BYOD policies. BYOD enables employees to use their own devices for work so long as they follow the company guidelines for security and data usage. 

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