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Ivanti 2019 Predictions: Five Trends Shaping Another Fascinating Year for Desktop Delivery

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2019.  Read them in this 11th annual series exclusive.

Contributed by Jon Rolls, Vice President of Products, Ivanti

Five Trends Shaping Another Fascinating Year for Desktop Delivery

2018 was a remarkable year in the history of desktop virtualization, reflective of the growing momentum away from on-premises infrastructure in favor of hosted services. Even when desktop compute resources remain partially or wholly on-premises, the control plane and management infrastructure is increasingly available as a service, as we have seen with offerings from Citrix, VMware, AWS, Frame, Workspot and - entering the fray in earnest - Microsoft. Their announcement at Ignite was unimaginable a few years ago when they barely acknowledged that desktop virtualization was a thing, and delegated enterprise-scale management of virtual desktops and sessions to Citrix. So, as we look to predictions for 2019, we have to start with Windows Virtual Desktop:

Prediction 1 - Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) will come to market in 2019 and CIOs will insist their desktop virtualization team evaluates it.

We have seen this repeatedly whenever Microsoft announces a significant "free" management feature that claims to reduce the need for third-party solutions. Whether it was Group Policy Preferences, User Experience Virtualization (UE-V), RDS (the connection broker), RDP, RemoteFX or even Hyper-V, the fact is that none of these Windows add-ons have dented the fortunes of ISVs in the Microsoft ecosystem.

I wonder if this time it will be different? RDmi is a significant evolution over Microsoft's previous efforts to provide a broker and management platform, and if it really can be effortlessly turned-on in Azure then it will be compelling. Gartner has estimated that by 2019, 50% of new VDI users will be deployed on Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) platforms, and I certainly foresee a lot of IT cycles burned in 2019 evaluating WVD.

Prediction 2 - 90% of "VDI in the Cloud" will still be on-premises desktops managed by a cloud-hosted control plane.

Every year the promise of DaaS might finally break through. (According to Gabe Knuth, it was actually 2014 and we missed it!) 2019 will see more growth than ever, but one thing everyone is tired of is standing up servers and databases and load balancers and VLANs to run a management console and monitor their desktops, and that's why offerings like Citrix Cloud have so much momentum. At Ivanti, we have heard a number of our customers tell us they plan to shutter their datacenters in two years.

The ongoing resistance/reluctance around DaaS remains that, unlike server virtualization, this is not a hardware/CapEx cost play. The value and ROI come from removing the burden on the IT department and elastic capacity. According to two surveys by 451 Research, 40% of enterprise IT decision makers surveyed said that reducing costs was their main reason for moving to the cloud, but a second study revealed more than 50% of decision-makers said cost and budget were still their number one pain points in cloud transformation.

Another hurdle in true DaaS adoption is the difficulty in roaming the user experience between virtual desktop resources on-premises and in the cloud which, by the way, is a challenge very few third parties can effectively solve. Read this example.

Prediction 3 - The steady stream of vendor consolidation by the larger platform players will continue.

The acquisition of FSLogix by Microsoft was perhaps surprising, especially since Microsoft already owned two very similar technologies. But, it shows that there is still a desire by the major desktop virtualization platform vendors to differentiate. It also indicates that the arms race between Citrix and VMware will continue to drive a tit-for-tat reaction to any further acquisitions or licensing deals, e.g. CloudVolumes and Unidesk, Immidio and Norskale, Teradici and Framehawk. Microsoft is now (apparently) joining in, and maybe AWS will also up their game with technology buys.

One big, related question is what happens to FSLogix inside Microsoft - will it be a Windows Virtual Desktop technology only, and will they only keep it focused on Office 365 problems? Read more on this discussion in this blog.

Prediction 4 - Expansion of turnkey managed desktop offerings aimed at simple use cases.

One quiet trend through 2018 has been of Service Providers (some blurring the lines with software vendors) with their own value-add software, providing turnkey hosted offerings for physical and virtual desktop estates. Another big Ignite 2018 announcement was the Microsoft Managed Desktop, where Microsoft themselves will provide a complete hardware-and-support bundle that suits organizations with low complexity application and integration needs. The details are still a little blurry, but it shows a clear direction.

Many organizations have much higher complexity in their application and user estates, and these will remain the forte of sophisticated, flexible solutions from multiple vendors managed by in-house IT teams, even if they use an increasing number of cloud services.

Over time these turnkey, ready-made solutions will accommodate richer environments, but it's early days and these first workspace-on-demand solutions are not yet ready for enterprise customers.

Prediction 5 - Windows 10 will still be a pain.

I saved this till last because it's a lazy and obvious observation! Sometime in 2019 the majority of business desktops will be on Windows 10. Even so, IT will still be struggling with the constant update cycles, how to cleanly migrate users between Windows 10 versions, and most enterprise organizations will not be able to rely on in-place upgrades because of application and driver compatibility risks, and lack of a recovery path when it fails.

There are (I'm duty-bound to say) solutions out there that separate the user persona and file data from their underlying hardware. They also enable the adoption of Autopilot and other solutions that ease Windows 10 rollout, but many organizations are reticent to invest in what is perceived as a problem Microsoft should solve! Fun times.

Closing Thoughts

2019 is shaping up to be another fascinating year for desktop delivery in all its forms, and more competitive than ever. As long as the world depends on Windows applications, demand will continue for new, faster, more efficient and simpler ways to deploy and manage the Windows desktop, and the opportunity is larger than ever for vendors developing innovative solutions.


About the Author


Jon Rolls is Vice President of Products at Ivanti for the company's Endpoint and User Workspace Management solutions.

Published Thursday, December 06, 2018 7:31 AM by David Marshall
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