Why hasn’t desktop virtualization taken over the world?

Read an interesting article at ZDNet from Dan Kusnetzky and wondering the same question: “Why hasn’t desktop virtualization taken over the world?”

Three thoughts about that:

1. Different view and definition about desktop virtualization

Desktop Virtualization has different meanings for each individual. From an abstract view I don’t agree with Dan that desktop virtualization is limited to “Access virtualization, Application Virtualization, Processing virtualization and Management of virtual environments”. It is part of it, but mixed models. Technically I love the “layer cake” concept of virtual computing what Citrix is pushing. Isolating hardware, operating system, application and profile and provision each layer on demand from server side to the local device. So different definition, other story. Compared to a broader market view, for example SBC was and is very successful in this area. Application virtualization as well as VDI or user virtualization.

2. Desktop virtualization is complex, but delivers more flexibility

Looking at the different vendors for each desktop virtualization layer, desktop virtualization is very complex and does not necessarly always save money. Costs are a very important dimension if you want find a decison about what technology to use. But you also have to consider the value of desktop virtualization which has a bigger mindset. You gain much more flexibility to other work styles especially with the challenge of mobile device proliferation and consumerization of IT.

3. Desktop virtualization is just a means to an end for business

Last but not least desktop virtualization should only help people to work better. Better means faster,  more convenient, more innovative, that companies have a competitive advantage to run and evolve their businesses. No more, no less.

Conclusion: I truely believe in the value of desktop virtualization with all its technology variety. Just have a look at the latest Gartner hype cycle about virtualization and define desktop virtualization technolgies for it. This won’t correlate with the definition of Dan. Then have a look at the markets and its potential and answer yourself: Is desktop virtualization taken over the world? For sure. Is it the only technology to solve business problems? No. Cloud technologies are in the hype phase and still physical devices will stay. So the world is still colorful and will be heterogenous.

Comments? Please let me know your thoughts.

2 thoughts on “Why hasn’t desktop virtualization taken over the world?

  1. 1- Its also about legacy CTO and CIOs that dont quite grasp the concept and dont want to “experiment” on newer technology. Most remember citrix from 10 years ago, and think its the same beast. For employees that see it work, they love the idea. A few might want offline access but when they realize how little they do offline, then they just request a word editor or outlook for a copy of their email.

    2- Cost , the new investment has very little track record but those who have done it, show a ROI because they no longer need the support team on the user end.

    3- Anyone in charge hates to have to clean up a convoluted, messy image, and desktop they or a predecessor pushed out. It means having to clean things up, REGARDLESS, if its a vdi solution or not.. If it aint quite broken (sometimes not broken and held together with a shoelace) – why fix it!? Hey – Im not justifying this, I’m just giving the reason.

    1. Thank you Brian for your comment.
      1. Totally agree on that statement. You will find plenty of CxOs who are not willing to invest in this technology. They are sceptical and won’t be the first. But that’s ok. I met decision makers who really asked “why change, we did the same stuff over a decade now and it works.” Are they the people to fight for? For me the answer is no. Looking at different adoption rates for desktop virtualization; e.g. VDI is in the early adopter phase. I believe that desktop virtualization is still crossing the chasm. You have to be careful to find environments where there is demand for innovation.
      2. Cost is definitly the biggest issue, someone has to pay the bill. I really believe that desktop virtualization offers much more value and flexibility for example on mobile devices like the iPad. And this is just the beginning.
      3. If you are evaluating or starting a desktop virtualization project focus on automation. I had three customer calls in the last two weeks who fully automated the way how to build a master image. It was massive for me to hear that a complex developer image has over 200 software packages and is built in 10 hours. Than the image is usable for testing and productive environements. You have to cleanup at least and automation is key to success for me.

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