Was 2012 the Window for VDI?

As far back as 2010 people have been predicting that “this year” (“this year for sure”) would be the year that Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) finally took off. Early predictions suggested that by the year 2013 the VDI industry would be practically ubiquitous with modern enterprise and be worth billions of dollars. Yet, somehow, this never quite happened. There were a lot of technical and procedural hurdles that have hindered full adoption over the years. The question is whether or not 2012 was the year we finally got over them.

As we move further into 2013 and see greater adoption of VDI – even if it’s not the sweeping industry takeover that was predicted a few years ago – it’s still a little early to say whether or not last year was the window for the technology. We can, however, say that some significant advances were made.

Why Does VDI Remain So Interesting?

Normally, if a new technology fails to reach a certain point of adoption, it normally ends up slowly disappearing from most discussions. However, this hasn’t happened with VDI. Instead, companies keep looking at it and reconsidering it as an option within the enterprise.

Why? The benefits are just too hard to ignore. The potential exists for better, faster desktop deployments (something that is increasingly important given the number of companies that are still using outdated and unsupported operating systems), and a much easier maintenance and support system (which is even more important given the number of significant security breaches over the last couple years).

VDI has had time to mature as a technology. Expectations are more in line with what it can deliver, and the supporting technologies have also developed to the point where it is easier than ever to deploy and maintain the system. And now that VDI has been on the radar for so long, more enterprises are starting to better understand how it can be deployed and used, and what benefits are directly linked to the technology.

What Changed in 2012?

While the VDI industry has gone through some slow periods, the current studies do show a trend toward increased an increased adoption rate. While the current number of enterprises using some form of VDI remains comparatively small, surveys show that more than half of them are actively testing and experimenting with deployment.

Some of the major developments through 2012 included the growing accessibility of converged infrastructure appliances that make it easier to buy and set up the VDI. These products are taking the concept of a virtual desktop from the purely experimental concept to the practical tool. The increase in supporting technology has also made a big difference, with things like better storage options and 1-to-1 persistent disk imaging becoming more affordable and viable.

In a way, we have reached a level of adoption that has been referred to as the “Slop of Enlightenment,” which is to say that even though there may not be the same press coverage or expectations surround the technology, enough business have invested in VDI and have begun to understand more about its practical benefits and uses.

After 2012 we’re now looking at much faster deployments and reduced costs on the hardware and software necessary to manage a virtual desktop infrastructure, and this is what will, in the end, lead to increased adoption and continued enterprise usage.

Are you planning on making the switch to VDI in your organization? Let us know in the comments.

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