At the Gartner Data Center conference in Las Vegas last week I asked several polling questions regarding desktop virtualization adoption plans and trends, and thought that they were worth sharing. Note that the poll was taken in my session on “Desktop Virtualization: Tales from the Trenches,” so the audience was already at least considering the technology.

The first question I asked was regarding business drivers.










As you can see above, the majority of respondents wanted to use the technology to reduce TCO, while giving users a “Follow-me desktop” was a close second. We have multiple clients that have been able to reduce TCO 10% or higher, so the expectations are legitimate.

The next polling question looked at virtual desktop adoption goals.










Note that 11-30% seemed to be the sweet spot, while other organizations had more aggressive targets, and some had less. We talk to many clients that are using virtual desktops for a variety of use cases, so the range of answers was expected. Some healthcare organizations see the technology reaching the majority of their doctors and clinicians. Other verticals are using virtual desktops for remote worker and remote office support. In fact, I spoke to several clients at the conference who were expanding to Eastern Europe and the Asia Pacific regions. They didn’t want to hire any IT staff to manage the remote offices, so the virtual desktop was a sound investment for them.

I often get asked about virtual desktop vendor preferences and the survey respondents pointed to a near even split between Citrix and VMware, along with growing interest in Microsoft.










We still see Citrix having a slight edge among Gartner clients that we speak with each day; however, Citrix should take note of the poll response that several organizations see VMware as a capable alternative. Note that the poll sample was from 105 conference attendees.

The last question that I had asked was about storage preferences. This question was a little more involved and about half of the poll participants responded to this one.














Attendees could select multiple options, and while the enterprise storage array features were expected, the interest in the native hypervisor features such as IntelliCache and View Accelerator was a bit of a surprise. However, virtual desktops are capex-sensitive and when native platform technologies can be used, it’s a logical first option. Still, oftentimes specialized storage is closely evaluated by organizations looking to reduce their storage capex, and that’s where vendors like Nutanix and Tintri get a look. Also, we often see vendors like Atlantis Computing and FusionIO brought in to address storage performance scalability challenges as the environment grows to 1,000 or more users.

Our average client spends anywhere from 40-60% of their desktop virtualization budget on storage, so it’s really important to take the time to get the storage architecture right the first time. The alternative often involves going to the CFO six months into the project, saying “My bad,” and requesting more budget.

What do you think? Any surprises in this year’s polls?


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