At VMworld Barcelona, end-user computing (EUC) was prominent in the keynote (see replay) and announcements. New EUC GM Sanjay Poonan (see his interview on theCUBE from VMworld SF) announced the release of VMware Horizon View 5.3 and the acquisition of Desktone for Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) (see VMware CTO blog). VMware has been working hard to close the gap of features and functionality with market leader Citrix. Overall, VDI is making slow, steady progress; strong solutions and new economics for VDI and enterprise mobility are helping to broaden the appeal of VDI solutions beyond its traditional niches.
One of VMware’s largest strengths is the robust ecosystem of technology vendors and channel partners that deliver virtualization solutions. Many of these companies have developed solutions for VDI and over the last 12-18 months, there has been increased growth in customer adoption (see Is VDI the Killer App for Converged Infrastructure which was written after VMworld SF last year). The biggest obstacles around VDI adoption are cost, performance, managing user experience and the operational disruptions of changing infrastructure (see the 2011 Wikibon Peer Incite: Desktop Virtualization Cold Hard Facts). While almost every storage solution that includes flash is seeing increased interest for VDI, converged infrastructure offerings (see Flash Intersects Convergence) are seeing the higher growth than the rest of the market by delivering simplicity and predictability to a workload that is often difficult to characterize. Hyper-convergence startup SimpliVity bakes a very deep stack (including disaster recovery (DR), WAN Optimization, Dedupe and much more standard) that offers the opportunity to enhance VDI solutions (see SimpliVity’s announcement). To truly gain value from VDI, a deployment needs to be about much more than moving from physical to virtual desktops. Mobility and security have been at the forefront of use cases, approaches like SimpliVity allow for seamless adoption of more advanced storage features such as DR.
Like most vendors, SimpliVity fully supports both VMware Horizon View and Citrix XenDesktop. Wikibon research shows that EUC is likely to grow across all hypervisors, not just VMware. Growth in other hypervisors could limit the addressable market for VMware EUC. Brian Madden once said that Microsoft licensing is the biggest inhibitor to VDI adoption. With its recent Hyper-V updates and some changes in licensing, Microsoft can be a serious player in the VDI landscape. VMware’s Desktone acquisition is a clear sign that the DaaS market (see Ken Oestrich’s Citrix’s blog posts on the market size) is also heating up, so Citrix, Microsoft (armed with Azure) and VMware (new Desktone plus vCHS) will be battling on premise and in the clouds.
Action Item: With the economics and technology of solutions maturing, IT departments should revisit VDI. Users are advised to undergo a thorough evaluation and pilot phase and to work with knowledgeable partners that have proven experience in successful deployments without going over the planned budgets. Solutions should leverage flash, have simplified deployment and take advantage of mobility.