By Michele Gasparoli, Channel Marketing Manager, Praim
The virtualisation market in general and desktop virtualisation in particular has progressed over the years to support changing business needs.
Until a few years ago, as anyone who implemented a virtual desktop infrastructure would testify, substantial resources and advanced skills both in networking and storage were needed to successfully complete a virtualisation project. These types of installations were adopted only by large customers with wide availability of budget and internal resources for infrastructure management.
The typical virtualised workstations were standardised with well-defined requirements and in little need of change during the years. These preferences came from pre-defined and stable corporate business models that didn’t require frequent changes.
With the evolution of virtual desktop technology it became possible to deliver cheaper, more efficient and customisable desktops. Accordingly, the demand of adoption of such technologies grew strongly including from companies with reduced budgets and in need of highly heterogeneous environments.
The growing market demand to find new solutions that can reduce the complexity and cost of managing traditional IT infrastructure, while ensuring reliability, scalability and usability, has greatly accelerated the development and adoption of these technologies during the last years.
Growing user base
Today, the demand of virtualised workstations is spreading to a wider user base as more organisations take advantage of dynamic and customised virtual desktops.
Alongside this deep technology evolution, we have experienced a progressive transformation of the way people use such technologies. The in-house installation of VDI is beginning to give way to hybrid cloud infrastructure. The launch and spread of cloud providers has opened up the adoption of this technology to all companies, bringing down the financial and technological barriers to entry of these resources.
Thanks to the “as a service” deployments the VDI adopter is quickly evolving. From large enterprise to small companies, anyone nowadays can have access to the same level of technology. The provision of the service at a fixed cost and the elimination of the initial infrastructure investment is allowing companies of any size, in any market, to seriously consider VDI as long term solution. This technological solution, reinforced by a new cultural approach around the use of mobile applications, allows users to access the VDI resources regardless the type of endpoint used.
The combination of the technological evolution of VDI and the adoption of new distribution models is also changing the typical use of standard virtualised workstations in major vertical markets such as telco, finance, retail and healthcare, now extending to very high-end performance 3D graphics and high resolution multimedia performance, while at the same time enabling a high degree of customization.
The virtualised architecture perfectly responds to modern business needs – typically variable and heterogeneous – with fast delivery of resources from a centralized environment. This is the best way to ensure flexibility, scalability and minimise investment in unnecessary resources.
The continued progression of VDI infrastructure has also impacted favourably on the evolution of endpoints, crucial to access these systems. In our experience of Thin & Zero Client manufacturer, the consumerisation of virtual desktops increases the demand of integration: full support of a large range of input devices, full support of encryption and security protocols, and the development of centralized management software that must meet the new requirements of “as a service” delivery method.
The strong focus on cost reduction, energy consumption, economic savings targets and the increase attention to environmental impact are all compelling reasons that are now pushing the adoption of VDI architectures and thin clients endpoints.
Every market can now take full advantage of VDI. Technology evolution has opened up new market segments, from engineers that need high-performance graphics to use CAD and 3D solutions within a mobile and shared environment, to companies that require a high level of integration. For example, it is now possible to virtualise the acquisition of digital images and digital signature on virtual desktops, whereas previously this was implemented only onto physical workstations to avoid bandwidth overload in data transfer.
The evolution of remote applications allows us to create a mixed environment with a large portfolio of available resources delivered by the different providers. Thanks to this flexibility companies can choose the best resource at the best cost with the freedom to choose their own ideal configuration.
Desktop and app virtualisation is not even a Microsoft Windows prerogative anymore: the VDI technology is evolving towards the virtualisation of Linux desktops in order to decrease costs and allow the provision of heterogeneous application solutions, without the need of different access clients.
Without doubt the VDI market is rapidly evolving and is strongly linked to the continued development of network infrastructures (mobile or physical) together with the global adoption of virtualisation, the cloud and AAS.