Analyst questions broad adoption of virtual desktops

Analyst questions broad adoption of virtual desktops

A leading IT analyst has warned the cost benefits for desktop virtualisation don't always stack up.

IBRS research analyst, Kevin McIsaac, claimed too much vendor information was based on usage assumptions rather than analysis of actual costs and practices for a particular organisation.

"A lot of people are under the impression that thin clients and VDI [virtual desktop infrastructure] will save them a lot of money, but when you look at it closely those claims are hard to justify," he said. "The usual way to reduce the cost of desktops is by locking the PC down and limiting the way people can change things. In this case, VDI or Citrix thin clients can be a way to implement that technology differently.

"But I don't think some of the arguments for it stand up to scrutiny. Desktop virtualisation is an agent of change to get around the political issue of locking down desktops, but it's not a silver bullet for today's desktop problems."

McIsaac said users were increasingly concerned by their current desktop environments because they are expensive, difficult to manage and inflexible. But he urged organizations considering desktop virtualization to accurately measure the cost benefits and investigate what related technologies also need to be implemented.

"There's definitely underlying demand to do something and that's the reason why people are so interested in VDI - VMware has been fantastic in the server space and VDI is riding on its coat tails," he said. "But for most people the solution has to be managing desktop processes, such as software deployment, how desktops are set up and simplifying management.

"Desktops based on Wyse thin client or Citrix technologies account for less than 2 per cent of PC shipments, and both have been around for 10 years. They haven't set the world on fire."

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