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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?
Alastair Cooke: VDI is mainstream now; no need to wait. There are hundreds of companies using VDI to deliver value to their users. Sure, there are more desktops and laptops in the world than virtual desktops, but that doesn't stop VDI from being mainstream.
Although people don't believe the hype of the eternal "year of VDI," a lot of business value is delivered by VDI. Businesses are allowing their staff to work from home or from different offices without needing to buy, maintain and secure laptops or complex VPNs. Highly regulated, secure or mobile organizations are delivering existing applications without rewriting them to staff members in all sorts of situations.
Plus, tablets and smartphones are being made more productive by providing access to enterprise applications without waiting for developers to produce feature-limited mobile applications. Businesses are using VDI to deliver desktops to their users in ways that would have been impossible or extremely expensive only a few years ago. In this post-PC or PC-plus world, there are more types of devices in front of users, and many of those devices are presenting virtual desktops to help them get more work done.
VDI products are shrink-wrapped and easily deployed -- not science projects requiring continual tweaking and tuning to support limited numbers of users. They scale to thousands of users and deliver huge benefits. There are also hardware vendors such as Nutanix and Pivot3 making new architecture server platforms that are at their best with VDI workloads, and management vendors are releasing tools that give support teams deep insight into their VDI environments.
Mainstream doesn't require dominance; it simply means that there is a use case that is widely applicable. Virtual desktops have been mainstream for a while, and VDI adoption will continue to make gains where it has value to deliver.