Desktop Virtualization Ready for Prime Time

By Samuel Greengard Print this article Print

Lower prices and a growing need to manage multiple OS and consumer devices help drive adoption.

Virtualization isn’t exactly a newcomer in the corporate world. Gartner reports that about 40 percent of all servers have already been virtualized and the figure will likely top 75 percent in only three years. But there remains untapped opportunity for organizations looking to ratchet up efficiency, with many enterprises only beginning to use desktop virtualization on a widespread basis.

A 2011 study conducted by Imprivata found that 35 percent of healthcare organizations have adopted desktop virtualization. A number of other industries measure in with similar numbers, though the actual number of devices using VDI is growing rapidly. According to Gartner, the worldwide market for VDI will grow from about 500,000 units in 2009 to nearly 49 million units by 2014. The percentage of virtualized desktops will rise from about 10 percent in 2008 to 60 percent in 2012. 

The appeal of VDI remains the same: it improves flexibility, simplifies administration and boosts security. What has changed are ongoing price drops and a growing need to seamlessly manage an IT infrastructure that includes desktops running Windows, Mac laptops using Apple OS X and mobiles devices using iOS and Android. In many cases, VDI streamlines data exchange and accessibility in an increasingly bring-your-own device (BYOD) IT world.

For example, Citrix Receiver allows organizations to use Microsoft Windows apps on a Mac or iPad. IBM Virtual desktop for Smart Business, introduced in late 2011, supports Windows and Linux desktops through numerous devices, including iPads, laptops and thin client systems.

Expect additional news and announcements as 2012 unfolds. One of the biggest developments in the VDI space will likely be a Citrix’s system on a chip. The zero-client solution will further reduce the price for VDI while boosting performance. Jim Curin, Founder and CEO of Virtual Bridges, notes that “2012 represents a new playing field for VDI…VDI Gen2 offers a high quality experience for all users, regardless of location.”

This article was originally published on 2012-01-03
Samuel Greengard is a freelance writer for Baseline.
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