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Introduction to Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)

There is no sharing of OS resources between individual VDI clients as with other remote desktop implementations

This blog starts a series of blogs we will post regarding Virtual Desktop Infrastructure or VDI.  To directly quote wikipedia "VDI is a desktop-centric service that hosts user's desktop environments on remote servers and/or blade PCs, which are accessed over a network using a remote display protocol."  Basically, VDI means a user can access their desktop from any terminal device capable of running the remote display protocol.  Further, VDI runs a complete implementation of a typical desktop OS (e.g., Windows XP, Windows 7, etc.) as a virtual machine on the host server.  There is no sharing of OS resources between individual VDI clients as with other remote desktop implementations.

VDI History
VDI history traces back to 2002, before it was even called VDI.  An excellent timeline of the evolution of VDI can be found on Vittorio Viarengo's mobilityjourney blog.  VMware announced the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Alliance in April, 2006, introducing the market to the term and kick started the industry. VMware and Citrix initially drove the industry which now has offerings from many vendors including Oracle, Microsoft, Quest and several others.  An excellent presentation of vendors, products, architectures and feature comparison can be found in the "VDI Smackdown" white paper written by IT consultants, PQR.

VDI Market Outlook
Mainstream VDI deployment is relatively new and the market is still developing.  A brief survey of the industry on the internet revealed wildly varying figures.  Quest, who is in the business, reports this on their webpage: "The VDI market is growing at 113 percent compound annual growth rate to reach US $2.4 billion of the total addressable market by 2013" while Visiongain "has determined that the value of the global cloud-based VDI market will reach $11.2 billion in 2012 growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.77% through to 2015."  Hmmm....is it $2.4B or 11.2B? is the growth 113% or 14.77%?  Or is it the 26% that Technavio is forecasting? I guess that is the great thing about marketing, who is going to hold someone to these numbers.  Maybe these are not all referring to the same industry or products but if they are, the forecasts and reported results are sure confusing.

And then of course there are the naysayers asking questions like "Is VDI Still Viable?" and making statements like "The VDI Party is Over."

VDI Blogging
Independent of the above market analysis, VDI is a large enough industry to grab the attention of some very big industry players.  From a blogging perspective, VDI is a veritable gold mine.  Tons of stuff has been written about it and lots more will be.  Here at Velobit, we have a unique perspective on VDI as we are somewhat neutral in our analysis of the issues/pros/cons surrounding VDI market evolution.  In the next few weeks we are going to lay out our view on this industry and hope to add some useful information to help you decide on your view of VDI.

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More Stories By Peter Velikin

Peter Velikin has 12 years of experience creating new markets and commercializing products in multiple high tech industries. Prior to VeloBit, he was VP Marketing at Zmags, a SaaS-based digital content platform for e-commerce and mobile devices, where he managed all aspects of marketing, product management, and business development. Prior to that, Peter was Director of Product and Market Strategy at PTC, responsible for PTC’s publishing, content management, and services solutions. Prior to PTC, Peter was at EMC Corporation, where he held roles in product management, business development, and engineering program management.

Peter has an MS in Electrical Engineering from Boston University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

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