Everyone who needs VDI already has it

Citrix, VMware, and other vendors are spending millions trying to convince customers that they need VDI. The reality is that everyone who really needs VDI is already using it.

Citrix, VMware, and other vendors are spending millions trying to convince customers that they need VDI. The reality is that everyone who really needs VDI is already using it.

There are 500-700m corporate desktops in the world. The number of VDI users is not known for sure, although it's thought to be in the single-digit millions. (For sure less than 5m, probably less than 2m.) So why aren't the other 498m users in the world using VDI? Simple. Because they don't need it!

Look, if they needed it, they'd have done it by now. Look at what Harry Labana did at Goldman Sachs when he built his own VDI out of single-user Citrix Presentation Servers running as VMs. Look at the financial companies using VDI. Look at the people with outsourced developers.

If you need it, you're already doing it. If you're not already doing it, then you don't need it!

So now what? I guess we move on to those who want VDI. Or to those who think it might be nice.

But there's nothing standing in the way of those who need VDI from using it now. I mean what are you waiting for? The protocols aren't getting any better. The management isn't getting any better. You don't need the single disk sharing to work perfectly (since you can use TS for that). So if you need VDI, get on it!


While I wish I could've just ended this post at that, I should point out that just because those who really need VDI are already using it, this doesn't mean that the vendors have nothing more to sell. Client-based VMs are going to be huge in 2010, as will the various data replication and syncing tools to ensure that users can run VMs locally as easy as they can access them remotely. These technologies will usher in a new wave of adopters (again, those who need them), which will in turn push a whole new set of technologies. The cycle will repeat.

It's just that right now we're sort of stuck in the "VDI-is-as-good-as-it's-going-to-get-phase-and-client-hypervisors-won't-be-out-for-another-six-months" doldrums.

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Can't really disagree with you there; Our VDI use is continuing to grow unabated despite our endless fumbling around worrying about which broker we might implement or which management tools might be best. If it was left up to IT I suspect we'd have about 10 VDIs, rather than the 1000 w have now. The take-up is driven by user demand and the service is nice and simple, or at least no more complicated than it needs to be (One-to-one sessions on ESX + RDP, nothing else). Shame its so expensive; but there's no prospect of it getting any cheaper so we just keep doing it until we can come up with something better.


I couldn't disagree with you more.  In case you haven't noticed the global economy is doing a huge reset (especially in America).  People are really looking closely at their expenses; their deciding between what they want, and what they need. Then there really putting off the wants until later.  This is happening industry wide (just look at car sales). The same can be said about many corporate/government/academic IT budgets.  The recent economic events has really been an eye opener, and companies aren't opening their wallet like they used to.  In my opinion VDI is a want, and not a need, and I don't think I am alone. VDI may be looking like a pretty mature product, but it's still not complete.  You know what is complete? Windows 7, and yet everything I've read shows that the Windows 7 adoption is still slow, and will remain this way for at least another year or two.

Money is flowing the way it used to, and no VDI solution is shipping today that addresses every practical necessity.  Add on the Microsoft's messy licensing scheme, and you got yourself a "big bag of hurt."  The licensing is always the elephant in the room in regards to VDI, and it really makes ROI hard to justify the expense, especially with the budgets which seem to be getting smaller and smaller.  Had the economy not been where it's been at over the last couple years I would have not agreed with you more, but I really think you need to take a second look, do some further research from all companies big and small, and then get back to us on what you've found.


I think desktop virtualization needs to be re-defined. Aside from cost, VDI is constrained because it doesn’t address the needs of remote or mobile users. It forces compromises: Server-based = strong management, poor user experience. Client-based = happier end-users, more complexity for IT.

For VDI to grow, it has to support the way companies really work: ie, make it easier for  IT to provision/migrate endpoint hardware, use a single base image for patching, etc. But it can’t ignore end users. I travel a lot, and I want to work the way I always have, without complicated check-in procedures, or being tethered to HQ on a dog-slow network. As Craig points out, there are new technologies available that can change this conversation.



Never seen you so off base before. There are large organizations today that are just now addressing their desktop refresh (mostly because of Windows 7) and almost all of the companies are including VDI in their plans. One organization in particular intends to eventually have 50,000 VDI clients in five years. How much VDI do they have today? Zero. Not because they don't need it, but because they are such a big organization they have to plan accordingly. And those plans include making sure the VDI software is ready when they get there.

We have all heard the stories about companies that rolled their own VDI, but the majority of us need something mainstream, fully supported by the vendors and, ideally, fully embraced by the blogosphere such as yourself. That way, when the vendor is not fully responsive we can come here for peer support. Can't do that with a RYO solution.

BTW, did you notice that Harry is no longer with GS? Sure he parlayed he experiment into a sweet job at Citrix, but not all of us can do that. Unless we want Harry's job ;)


What I've learned from real world experience is that VDI alone is not a silver bullet and it will not address every use case out there. This is why Citrix does not try to use a single Vanilla solution to address the broad Desktop Virtualization market. It's just common sense to me and why there are so many skeptics out there when they are trying to smash a square peg into a round hole, they don't get it!

There are several broad reasons why people adopt Desktop Virtualization. Security and centralization which enable organizations to connect from anywhere and streamline their organizations for one reason or the other. In other words becoming more flexible and agile due to session mobility. You can achieve that with the VDI model and with the published desktop model with XenApp which is part of our Desktop Virtualization portfolio. One model costs more, but gives better session isolation. These are not 'stories' this is what real world customers are doing and why at scale.

Now add the dimension of offline use, and one starts to understand the potential of client side hypervisors. Longer discussion...

Then one has to consider the broader question of distributed computing and cost of managing all that complexity. This is the problem that we all know and love, called desktop management. It's not going away and will only get worse over time. Is this how organizations can/should operate moving forward? That is a choice and some are ready and others are not. Forward thinking organizations get this and understand that reducing distributed computing management costs and converting CapEx to OpEx and increasing automation is key moving forward.


I agree it’s more than VDI and the use cases need be understood to figure out what’s the best solution. Citrix certainly has that right now. However in the broader context, the industry needs better management solutions to make this real and tie together as some of the above posts elude to.