Virtualization Technology News and Information
Leostream: 2011 – The year ahead for virtual desktops

What do Virtualization and Cloud executives think about 2011?  Find out in this series exclusive.

Contributed Article by Eric Hanselman, CTO, Leostream Corporation 

2011 – The year ahead for virtual desktops

The virtual and hosted desktop marketplace has come a long way in the last year and can do much more in the year ahead.  Enthusiasm and interest has increased, major vendors are jumping in, but there's still some misalignment in expectations and the state of product offerings.  The coming year should offer a chance to bring this marketplace a little bit more in to harmony.  My predictions are a little on the hopeful side and we'll see how they bear out.

HVD/VDI will stop being treated as a monolithic thing - Virtual Desktops can be implemented in a lot of different ways and on a lot of different platforms.  Leading vendors have been pushing a "one size fits all" model for full hosted virtual desktops.  These work well for some great use cases, but they're not the solution for all users.  The scales have started to fall from more sophisticated customers' eyes and they're starting to demand more flexibility and solutions that fit them better.  "Deploying VDI" has never been a real solution.  It's been a forced technology decision, in many cases limited by a concern about the effort of managing different delivery mechanisms that might not have integrated management.  For some users, server-based computing will continue to work well (Microsoft RDS, Citrix XenApp).  For others, a higher capability is required.  Differences in delivered cost and effort will continue to keep this true and the next year will have more organizations realizing that this is not an all or nothing decision.

People will chuckle a little less at cloud delivered desktops - While one or two offerings of desktops hosted outside of the corporate perimeter exist, they've been eyed with some wariness.  This will change as the raw economics of cloud delivered desktops start to sink in.  Much of this will be driven by the vendors that currently offer desktop outsourcing.  Cloud delivered desktops have the potential to make serious inroads in the outsourcing business and they'll be working hard to avoid displacement.  This will continue to drive down costs and improve delivery models.

The marketplace will not settle - We're still in a frothy stew of technology advancement and the next year will only bring more.  Advancements in desktop viewing protocols have been some of the most visible.  Microsoft's RemoteFX and Red Hat's SPICE are seeing the light of day.  Both of these are tied to their respective platforms today and you can expect to see expansion.  Collaboration and consolidation will continue to expand the ways in which the various platforms can be combined.  This will lead to broader adoption of multiple solutions by individual organizations.  We won't make it to the lofty ideals of the VDI Coalition, but big steps will be taken in that direction.

It's all about the clients, stupid - In the past year, a lot of buying decisions have been made based on viewing protocols.  The HDX versus PCoIP debate carries on, but this is going to change to a discussion around client support.  Apps for iPads and Android are popping up, but they're still single vendor clients, aiming to bind customers to a specific platform.  As mobile client use accelerates, so will demand for clients that support a range of hosting environments.

Show me the money - We've come a fortunate distance from some of the optimistic ROI models that were hawked a few years ago.  Thanks to the hard work of people like Ruben Spruijt and others, we've got a much better understanding of the technical capabilities of the various virtual desktop options.  In the coming year, we'll get a chance to move beyond the "your mileage may vary" studies and finally get to some cost models that can be used to make sense of the various options.  There will be more understanding of the tradeoffs in capital and operational expenses.  This will be the year that a larger number of customers understand that things like client power consumption really do matter.

About the Author

Eric Hanselman is the chief technology officer for Leostream Corporation. With more than 20 years of virtualization and information technology security experience, Eric is responsible for guiding the strategic vision of the Leostream Connection Broker, as well as providing technical expertise in the practical application of virtualization management to Leostream's customers. Eric has written and spoken extensively on virtualization and security technology and their applications. Eric is a member of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.), a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), a VMware Certified Professional (VCP) and is a frequent speaker at leading industry events. You can follow him on Twitter here.

Published Tuesday, December 21, 2010 6:20 AM by David Marshall
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