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VDI vendors must change tack as on-premises market slows

Several factors have slowed new on-premises VDI adoption, and VDI vendors are forced to shift their strategies as a result.

VDI projects in the design, pilot and rollout stages make up a tiny portion of VDI environments, and they have decreased over the past year, according to the State of the EUC 2018 report released in May. Just 1.18% of respondents said their on-premises VDI is in the newly designed or proof-of-concept phase, down from 3.07% in 2017, according to the survey by research initiative VDI Like a Pro. Meanwhile, 41.3% said their VDI has been in production for two to four years, with 33.92% in production for five years or longer.

That’s because most IT departments interested in deploying VDI likely have already done so. Major challenges that cropped up around the technology — storage capacity, GPU power, cost — have since been considerably eased.

Very large organizations or even higher-end mid-market companies with 3,000 to 5,000 users are still good candidates for VDI, but they’re hesitant to move because of the time commitment, said Dane Young, strategic business advisor at Entisys360, an IT consultancy based in Concord, Calif.

“Now we’re dealing with the harder long pole in the tent — the slower adopters,” Young said. “They recognize that they need to, but also that it’s a three- to five-year plan. It takes a lot of time to move a couple thousands users into that environment.”

VDI vendors can gain new ground by focusing their attention on these companies — and pushing the security benefits.

“The number one trend that we’re seeing drives these types of VDI or app delivery initiatives has been security,” Young said. “IT leaders need to… involve their security [team] early and often.”

Desktop and application as a service has also shifted IT’s interest away from on-premises VDI. This trend presents new opportunities for vendors that provide VDI management and monitoring because IT needs tools aimed at handling these cloud workloads.

Another way for VDI vendors to find new customers may simply be a renewed emphasis on winning business from competitors, said Ruben Spruijt, CTO of cloud workspace provider Frame and an author of the report, along with Mark Plettenberg, senior product manager at Login VSI.

“The vendors will look at customers who are replacing their hardware or are not totally satisfied with the vendor that they have,” Spruijt said. “As the market matures, the way that VDI vendors engage with the customer has to change.”

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