Research: Virtual desktop infrastructure benefits, drivers, and favored vendors (TechRepublic Premium)
This archived TechRepublic Premium report, originally published in August 2013, is available for free to registered TechRepublic members. For all the latest research reports, 100+ ready-made policies, IT job descriptions, and more, check out TechRepublic Premium.
From the report:
For the last five or six years we’ve heard, “This year will be the year of the virtual desktop.” Desktop virtualization is not exactly a new concept, but it has yet to be embraced by a majority of companies around the world. That’s not to say plenty of people aren’t using it, though, and with concepts like BYOD on the rise, we might see the numbers continue to rise as the number of users has already nearly doubled in the past five years.
VDI isn’t much different than the old dumb terminal/mainframe setup that was used 30 years ago from a conceptual standpoint. Of course the technology has changed a lot and we don’t require a computer the size of the room to act as the backend anymore. At its very base level, there are usually a few VDI servers sitting in a data center and these servers act as the brains of the operation. They generally handle all of the compute resources and IOPs, while the virtual desktops are deployed to users on either their laptops or desktops (and now even their tablets and smartphones). The virtual desktop acts the same as if users were working on a computer with local resources. For example, they can see their Windows 7 screen and interact with it as they would on any other computer. An important difference here is that the administrator has more control. The admin can dictate the times users can access their desktop, load the proper applications, and even wipe all the data if the end user device is stolen or an employee leaves.
Several companies offer VDI. Some of the vendors mentioned for this survey were VMware Horizon View, Citrix XenDesktop, Microsoft Desktop Virtualization, KVM Desktop Virtualization, Virtuozzo from Parallels, and Virtual-Box. VMware and Citrix are the major players in this category. Citrix has been mastering some sort of application or desktop delivery since 1989. Its HDX Protocol has made huge strides in user experience. VMware has been 44.1% doing some great things with its View, now Horizon View, product in the last few years including desktop access over HTML in the most recent version. If you’re interested in hearing more about these technologies, check out the AdaptingIT podcasts with Cyndie Zikmund and Glenda Canfield. For the purposes of this survey, we are going to concentrate only on VDI, not on application delivery.