Research: VDI Adoption 2010
VDI: Flexibility, Security Benefits vs. High Costs
Virtual desktop infrastructure technology is gaining popularity fast: Of the 430 respondents to our July 2010 InformationWeek Analytics Desktop Virtualization survey, 77% are either actively using or testing VDI (42%) or assessing its benefits (35%). Most implementers have chosen to limit VDI to a partial deployment by user category, ranging from 68% of corporate office workers down to just 3% of media production workers. This makes sense given VDI’s current limitations in the areas of heavy graphical load and remote connectivity and its ability to reduce maintenance through the management of standardized pools.
The range of vendors being considered for most desktop virtualization engagements is also limited. We listed 14 players in this space, but our survey shows that few respondents plan to venture beyond the Big 3: Citrix, Microsoft and VMware. Attitudes toward cloud-based or outsourced VDI are far from positive, with only 14% of organizations considering vs. 39% who say no to a services model. As to motivation, respondents are most interested in ease of maintenance and security, and these areas rate high when we ask implementers about satisfaction. Of course, whether you’ll really increase security and manageability is predicated on strongly enforcing use of central data storage and organizing users into a limited number of pools so that IT can focus on working with base images instead of individual desktops. Infrastructure integration and application interoperability are also of interest to our respondents. Thus far, integration has gone smoothly, while more companies have struggled with effective application and peripheral device support. These and other glitches have had a negative influence on user satisfaction: There’s a 20-point spread between those who say the IT organization is satisfied or very satisfied with the current VDI infrastructure (93%) and those who can say the same for end users (73%). Clearly, we need to do better at educating employees and smoothing the inevitable bumps in the road.
Cost, as always, is another concern for companies both implementing and considering VDI. The initial investment in hardware and software needed to deploy a virtual desktop infrastructure is high enough that 31% cite it as the primary reason for not adopting. However, for those willing to take an initial leap, there is return on investment to be found in the areas of operating expenditures, labor, power and hardware. Whether VDI joins server-side virtualization as a data center staple depends largely on how willing vendors are to improve areas of current deficit, including offline access usage models, licensing complexity, and application and peripheral support, while containing costs. But IT has a role as well. Organizations must bite the bullet and budget for thin client hardware and proper setup of servers and associated user pools, and CIOs must be open to measuring success in areas beyond just base TCO, particularly maintenance and security improvements.
We believe VDI is here to stay, but that it still needs to mature. Those opting to implement now should take a careful look at devices in use, skill level of IT staff, security policies, willingness to invest upfront to gain benefits later and ability to measure ROI. We’ll cover all those areas, plus analysis of our survey data analysis and best practices. R1370910