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Few IT Orgs Have Virtual Desktop Plans

Forrester Research is seeing a flagging interest in virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) deployments by IT organizations.

At least that's true in terms of the projected deployment plans of survey participants. Just eight percent of IT decision-makers in North America and Europe said that they had plans to implement VDI and/or hosted desktops, according to a fourth-quarter 2012 Forrester Research report. That eight percent figure remained unchanged from a Q4 2011 Forrester study.

Interest in VDI didn't seem too high among Forrester's study participants, and it has declined year over year. About a one fourth (24 percent) of respondents were interested in VDI with no plans to deploy it, according to the Q4 2012 study. That figure represents a decline from the 33 percent showing interest in VDI in Forrester's Q4 2011 study.

Such results led Forrester Research Senior Analyst David Johnson to wonder whether interest in VDI hadn't peaked. However, he hypothesized that VDI could get driven somewhat by employee demand for the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend. A Forrester Q3 2012 study found that interest in desktop virtualization and application virtualization technologies was high at 53 percent of respondents when Forrester asked about using those technologies to support mobile workers.

Johnson suggested that technology limitations and high costs have held back VDI deployments so far. The enabling technologies were just "coming of age" in 2009, he argued in a blog post, and VDI is still considered to be expensive to deploy today, particularly with regard to back-end infrastructure costs.

On the bright side, Johnson pointed to innovations such as Nvidia's Virtual GPU solution to enable richer graphics on mobile devices. For companies with massive files to serve up, VDI becomes a more practical solution for mobile workers, he argued. Citrix is ramping up infrastructure to better support desktop-as-a-service providers as well, he argued.

Meanwhile, VDI expert and former Microsoft MVP Brian Madden feels that the year 2013 is bringing two technical solutions will help to foster VDI deployments. The first improvement is the use of persistent disk images, which has been expensive to deliver so far. About 20 companies now offer that technology, according to Madden. The second improvement is Nvidia's Virtual GPU solution, which supports higher quality graphics delivery without the bandwidth hit, he explained in a blog post.

Neither Madden nor Johnson sees VDI as a less expensive way of delivering desktops. Instead, it's a solution for some companies, and perhaps might get pushed a little by the BYOD trend. Otherwise, not too many companies seem to have plans for VDI, at least in the near term.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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