It seems that everyone has the key to what ails desktop virtualization these days.
With all manner of solutions hitting the channel, it's becoming increasingly difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to centralizing desktop infrastructure. One thing is for sure, however: Now that enterprises are scrambling to accommodate the growing variety of client devices in the work force, attaining some kind of working virtual desktop system has become a top priority. According to Barclays Capital, more than half of top CIOs are on board with desktop virtualization, and nearly a quarter are knee-deep in the planning or deployment phase.
For the IT industry at large, then, the central question surrounding virtual desktops is no longer what to do, but how to do it. And it's in this phase of the technology's evolution where we should see once and for all whether it has a future in enterprise infrastructure.
Clearly, the most talked about advancement of the past year or so has been the rise of cloud-based solutions. The thinking here is that enterprises gain all of the flexibility and scalability advantages of VDI without overloading internal physical infrastructure. Desktop-as-a-Service providers like Desktone have been quickly forging alliances with both cloud providers and traditional IT vendors in order to combine the service aspects of their platforms with the need to traverse the physical/virtual/cloud infrastructures that are becoming standard IT fare. The company's latest tie-up includes cloud provider Netelligent, Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) and NetApp storage systems in support of multi-tenant delivery of Windows 7 environments.
Deploying a virtual desktop platform is only the beginning of the process, however. Next comes the migration - a task made all the more difficult when encompassing third-party infrastructure. Unfortunately, too many organizations look to get started without a clear understanding of how VDI will impact internal and external resources. Flexera Software has issued the new AdminStudio Virtual Desktop Assessment tool, which promises to both speed up and lower the cost of VDI deployment. The package is vendor-agnostic and provides detailed visibility into everything from storage capacity and networking bandwidth to CPU and local memory availability. The system works under the company's Application Readiness portfolio designed to prep application environments for virtual infrastructure.
Still others would argue that VDI will continue to face tough sledding in the enterprises because it bumps up against a number of other top priorities, like unified communications. According to Nemertes Research VP Irwin Lazar, few organizations have been willing to subject real-time applications like voice and video communications to virtual platforms, but that's a merger that will have to take place under VDI. However, new platforms like Mitel UC and VidyoRouter are looking to expand the communications capabilities for leading VDI client software.
Now that the notion of the "desktop" is starting to diversify, however, the need for change is becoming paramount.