Credit Suisse CIO survey shows a major rise of desktop virtualization in five years

Phil Winslow, Dennis Simson, and Bryan McGrath conducted a survey of 50 CIOs from Fortune 1000 companies about their desktop computer users. The researchers asked that for a given desktop technology, what percentage of the CIO's users are using it now?

Phil Winslow, Dennis Simson, and Bryan McGrath conducted a survey of 50 CIOs from Fortune 1000 companies about their desktop computer users. The researchers asked that for a given desktop technology, what percentage of the CIO's users are using it now? How about in 2 years? How about in 5 years?Basically they asked 50 CIOs from Fortune 1000 companies a series of questions. For a given technology, what percentage of your users are using it now? How about in 2 years? How about in 5 years?

They asked these questions for each of the following five technologies:

  • Blade PCs
  • Virtual disk PCs
  • Virtual desktops
  • Server-based computing
  • Traditional desktops

What was interesting was that Blade PCs and virtual disk PCs are being used by almost no one: today, in 2 years, and in 5 years. Most companies are using SBC for 5-10% of users now, with that evolving to 10-50% in the next 5 years.

Traditional PCs are of course the majority today, generally with 80%+ in companies. But that will drop to 50-80% in the next 5 years.

The biggest surprise was virtual desktops. While they're only used for 3% or so of users today, that looks like it will grow to 5-10% in 2 years, with a majority of CIOs saying this will be in the 10-50% range in 5 years.

These figures are based on my own personal interpretation of some very crazy charts in the Credit Suisse report.

Credit Suisse extrapolated this data to mean that the desktop virtualization market will be $1.8B in five years!

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How much do
those CIO's usually know about the technical side of the Q? In my experience
very  little to nothing. CIO in a really big company is more about managing
people then to have a clue in technical concepts. That’s a task for managers
down below. Thus I would not put much value in this survey.


There is 2 things this survey provide :

  • CIO know that there is a problem with actual cost of the desktop and Virtual Desktop is the new thing they think it could solve this issue.
  • There is an hidden trend to remove the computer from the company...

Let explain the latest point :

Actually, (at least in europe), there is 3 type of car a company could provide :

  1. Service car (user could use it from 8am to 5pm, no week end and ne fees)
  2. Company car (user could use it 24x7, including week end and they could be charge [a little] for personnal usage)
  3. Car allowance (user choose his own car and pay full taxes but company do not have to manage anything)...

Could we do the same for computers (desktop, laptop, computer allowance) ? This could make sense for some user... With the computer allowance, company will have to provide the "corporate desktop" to external device... Good feet for VDI ? 

With the emerging Y generation (or thumb generation), this make even more sense... Young people want to use their own IT system (Linux, Mac, Wnidows) and their tribes tools (iTunes, IM, ...). That a good way also to let them "have their own IT" while still working with corporate desktop...

That's the 2 reason I think the survey is usefull but I agree with you : CEO didn't care at all about technology... They just think that it could solve the issues they have...


Was my 2 cts. 


Oke, why are we as a sector spending bilions of $ on security and management, when we will allow the user to provide its own IT infrastructure. How can we manage,, and assure the user or employe can perform his or her task when we allow him or her to provide there own IT infrastructure to connect to our VDI sollution? We can't, what we can and will is provide a thin client and perhaps a connection to our corperate network, but will not allow the user to use there own means of connecting.


It is a balance and it could be (not say that this is the only one) a solution or at last a way to investigate. 2 points :

Question of cost : Simple math from where I am (in Errope)... Company pay each year a taxe for each computer based on the original value. i.e., if I bought desktop hardware for 1000 EUR, each year, I have to pay 10% (100 EUR) of taxes. A friend of mine if working in a company with 100 000 desktops and this taxes over 3 years is around 300 000 EUR (plus regular hardware, software and management cost). They just found that by moving to VDI, they could save net net around 3 000 000 EUR (desktops) + 300 000 EUR (taxes) for a raw total near 3.5 Millions EUR. This coudl justify a investigation. Of course, there is the question regarding continuity of service when user broke down his own device... Not a easy track but one to test.


Question of security : another friend of mine is a general manager of a large retail company. His job consist to be excelled to death with spreadsheet. To do so, he decided to buy a "trackball" to scroll quickly and easilly through columns and lines... When he tried to install the P&P driver, there were a security restriction. He call the helpdesk and the guy just answer it is not supported. What he did ? Went over the internet, grab a cracking live CD, crack the local administrator password and install his device, then call help desk to make the local password reset... The story didn't tell who did wrong (helpdesk to not answer correctly to a user business case or the guy to crack the systm)... The moral is : user go actually enougth knownledge to crack the system if they want... We have to take this point into our reflexion to secure even the internal network (NAP, NAC, EPA, ...)...

We have to considere every device insecure until proven secure (secure enougth to connect). Question : connect to what : SBC and VDI are "secure by design" by allowing remote display and control over trafic going back and forward. Why in this case not considere device as "a commodity" and change the way we considere security (not remove it).


Is a thin client more secure than a full PC when conencting to a secure SBC infrastructure ? Don't know, but think about 3.5 millions EUR ;-)

Everybody will have a story to tell about that and the opposite example.  


Just a wink to my US friends : Actually, 3.5 Millions EUR is around 5.2 Millions USD



I am curious if these CxO's are looking at the bottom line or the whole picture.

Nothing against moving desktops to the datacenter and providing flexible access, but I am wondering if those of us managing desktops and servers can actually reduce traditional systems management tools that seems to get more expensive and complex every year.

Any thoughts from the readers?

So how much do the VDI thin clients cost?  or to do they magically connect to the VDI workstations?

They do not connect magically but a thin client is 50% price of a desktop (where I am)...

Customer told me that savings could pay a part... not a magicall solution but if there is potential savings, worth a look. That's why today, I think, there is interest in this VDI idea.

I'm not a fan of VDI (my point of view is that SBC is just what I need) but more I dig, more I'm finding reason that could potentially justify financially VDI. Now, we stillhave to investigate the entire financial equation, the technical possiblity of the solution, the hidden limitation of the story...

I will continue to get an eye on it but will let others try ;-) 


I have to agree with you Kata, we have to find a way to support the demands of the new generation of users. And you hit the security issue spot on in my oppinion. We will just have think differently, if the client devices are owned/administrated by the users, then we have to focus security on guidelines and infrastructure security, NAC, NAP etc.

My belief is truly that we have to face that we will not be able to run businesses on one platform, i think we will actually see a much more mixed platform within the next 5 years.

So instead of pointing fingers hoping for our favorite technology to win, i think we have to start focusing on using each technology where it best supports the business and the users needs :-)


We already allow users their own means of connecting.  It's called VPN.  Everybody's doing it, not just the cool kids.  Just ask Cisco.