That's what Brian said to me when he forwarded me a link to an article about a recent Gartner report. The article reports on what Gartner expects the "Hosted Virtual Desktop" (that's Gartner's term for VDI, but more specifically, server-side hosted desktops - not including client hypervisors) market to do over the next five years.
For starters, in the next year Gartner expects the worldwide HVD market to grow from $1.3 billion to $1.5 billion--about a 15% gain, but that's not very "wowsers"-worthy.
What sticks out is that Gartner predicts the HVD market will grow to be a massive $65.7 billion market by 2013. There's the "Wowsers!" moment, especially when you consider that the number of units used to calculate this number range from 500,000 units in 2009 to 49 million units.
That means that the cost of a typical VDI implementation at this point is $2600 per unit this year, but by 2013 the cost per unit will drop almost 50% to $1340.
The article goes on to say that right now, VDI makes up "less than 1 percent of the worldwide professional PC market," and that in 2013, that number will grow to "more than 40 percent of the worldwide professional PC market."
So why is this so amazing? Well, for starters, the VDI market going from $1.3 billion to $65.7 billion is pretty interesting. Not only does that serve to validate this technology, but it shows that in a down economy VDI is going to grow at a phenomenal rate. And since Hosted Virtual Desktops doesn't include client hypervisors, that means that 49 million units number leaves out what could be another pretty sizable group of users.
Those figures take into account a drop in hardware prices, but an increase in the need for servers, bandwidth, and supporting software. Not an increase in price for those, necessarily, but an increase in the actual numbers needed to support the increase in users/servers.
Enough numbers. What's it going to take to for a vendor to take advantage of that kind of growth?
- Remote Display Protocol - If a solution doesn't have a good remote display protocol, they're out. Those companies can only hope to piggyback on RDP7 (or 8 by 2013?) or hope that VESA brings something to the table with Net2Display that everyone can take advantage of.
- Client Hypervisor - Having a client hypervisor might not make or break a company's chances, but it could provide a leg up. My guess is that there will be some interoperability, or at least some third party products that work with the big names. I imagine it as more of a value-add than a make-or-break feature, but who knows--five years is an eternity in this space.
- An All-Encompassing Solution - Having an end to end solution, however, is important. This could mean an end to end software solution, but it could also mean an end to end hardware/software solution. For instance, Cisco continues to invest in software (although not in the VDI space), and has recently made a splash with the announcement that they will be selling blade servers as part of an overall data center solution. Imagine the overall solution if Cisco were to buy Citrix for their VDI capabilities and, say, DataCore for their storage virtualization technology. Wowsers.
So now I'll ask you - do you think these numbers are too optimistic or unrealistic? What do you think the VDI vendors need to do to capitalize on that kind of growth?