New survey shows slight increase in uptake of VDI solutions

It’s long been mooted that virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) just isn’t ready for mainstream deployment, even though Gartner predicted there would be 49 million VDI users by the end of 2013.

Whether it’s down to incompatibility or price is a matter of executive opinion. Yet a new survey for CloudTech by IP EXPO Europe has revealed a small amount of growth in the space.

According to the survey, of 300 UK IT directors and managers on IT infrastructure, over a quarter (27%) of those surveyed had implemented local virtual desktops, while around one in five (18%) had implemented desktop as a service (DaaS).

Even though it’s certainly not a majority, these numbers represent a chunk of the sector exploring virtualised desktops for their organisation. However, only 21% of respondents said they would consider VDI or DaaS in the future.

This may be the more illuminating stat – and other research shows these figures might be a little higher than expected. The DataCore State of Virtualisation survey, from March last year, showed that more than half of organisations hadn’t implemented virtual desktops at all. Gartner expects a maximum of 15% VDI penetration by 2015.

As 2X Software’s Giorgio Bonuccelli wrote for CloudTech earlier this month, VDI penetration is still less than 2% of all desktops worldwide.

“VDI has been touted as the short cut to cloud computing, so what has put a sea of traffic cones in the way?” he asked.

Incompatibility is a big issue. As Brian Madden wrote earlier this month, user experience of VDI on a tablet is not good – because VDI is about delivering Windows apps from devices with precision mice and keyboards to, usually, a mobile device. The form factor change just doesn’t work.

So what other options are available? Software defined networking (SDN) is an opportunity, but the landscape is mixed for this self aware network. Four out of 10 polled said they were adopting SDN in their data centre, with one in six (16%) on premise. Yet one in eight (12%) said they were unfamiliar with the concept.

What do you make of current VDI penetration? Would you use it at your company?