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Citrix 2014 Predictions: 2014 will not be the year of VDI

VMblog 2014 Prediction Series

Virtualization and Cloud executives share their predictions for 2014.  Read them in this VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed article by Kevin Strohmeyer, Director of Product Marketing, Desktops and Apps at Citrix

2014 will not be the year of VDI

It's time to say goodbye to a cherished annual tradition: declaring the coming year the "Year of VDI." Oh, don't get me wrong, VDI deployments will grow, use cases will expand and it will become a solid player in IT's desktop portfolio but it's not going to be the end-all, be-all solution. For reasons why, look no further than the two trends that will dominate 2014: enterprise mobility and cloud-hosted desktops.

We all know that mobility is redefining the way people work and the way IT supports them. As enterprise mobility strategy matures, consumer technology has taught that it's apps and data that really matter. The laptop is no longer the center of the universe-it's just one of many devices that people use over the course of the day. IT needs to be able to host and deliver thousands of Windows apps optimized for any device, anywhere they're needed, without leaving a trace of data behind. Complete virtual desktops are great for some use cases, but they're just one tool in the box.

Cloud-hosted desktops loom large in the year ahead as IT organizations look for solutions that don't involve buying, configuring and managing everything on their own. The acquisition of Desktone by VMware and the introduction of Amazon WorkSpaces show that this already-strong market will continue to heat up. But as in the early days of VDI, the buzz tends to obscure the details that really matter. Again, it comes down to maturity: while VDI can play a role in cloud-hosted desktops, the conversation is beginning to shift from where the desktops are running toward the lifecycle management of those desktops. Delivering the right service for a user takes more than just hosting a desktop OS. You've also got to understand the role of data and apps in the context of user productivity.

At Citrix, we understand cloud-hosted desktops because we're already the leader in the market. Right now, there are more than 2,600 Citrix Service Providers delivering apps and desktop services to many thousands of users worldwide . These services are succeeding because they're not just hosting a generic desktop, but delivering the right kinds of apps in the right way for their customers. As IT organizations embrace more cloud services, and even leverage public cloud infrastructure to provide flexible capacity for desktop and app services, they'll also seek to maintain a high level of control so they can make sure they're delivering the right experience for each user.

A common thread runs through both of these trends: desktop virtualization is about a lot more than VDI. To balance user requirements, cost and manageability the right way for your organization, you need the flexibility to deliver virtual apps and desktops in different ways for each use case, from mobilizing Windows apps, to empowering remote workers and contractors, to enabling self-service desktops and apps on BYO laptops and tablets.

We've placed our bets on a desktop virtualization market that's much larger and broader than VDI, and we've designed our technology and product strategies accordingly, including the FlexCast delivery technology that powers Citrix XenDesktop. VDI-centric competitors  may still be clinging to the outdated market predictions and limited strategies of last year-and the years before-but the real future is shaping out to be much more interesting and productive.

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Published Thursday, December 19, 2013 6:32 AM by David Marshall
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