VDI on Hyper-V gets easier

Two major VDI bottlenecks have held back VDI adoption but third parties are helping clear the way

virtual desktop

Microsoft's Hyper-V, according to IDC's estimates, has grown to capture nearly one-third of the hypervisor market. That level of adoption is no surprise to IT admins who have been watching as each iteration of Hyper-V has reduced the feature gap with vSphere, VMware's front-runner.

However, there is still room for improvement. That improvement may not come from within Microsoft but from third-party ecosystem products that bolt on to your existing Hyper-V framework.

Case in point: Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) can help grow the virtualization market, as well as Hyper-V's market share. VDI has been a hot topic for quite some time, but there are deployment challenges around complexity and application delivery. Recently Mark Lockwood, a research director at Gartner, wrote that the biggest bottleneck for VDI was shared storage. But he noted the bottleneck is being eliminated through new options such as all-flash arrays, deduplication, and hyperconverged systems.

Solving that issue is great, but there are new bottlenecks to contend with. One is what Lockwood calls "mass events, such as antivirus scans and updates, inventory scans, and software distribution." These now compete with network, CPU, and memory resources. When you have 200 virtual desktops on the same server all getting a 100MB hotfix, patch, or update, the performance hit gives VDI a new black eye even if the storage bottleneck has been addressed.

The key to resolve these "mass event" issues, Lockwood says, is to focus on alternative ways to deliver applications (and updates and patches).

Once both major bottlenecks have been cleared, VDI will become as much a norm to organizations as virtualization itself is today to server rooms and data centers.

One vendor addressing the "mass events" issue around application delivery is Unidesk, which offers application layering and Windows OS layering (which help address the patching issue).

Microsoft is actively promoting such third-party products. That shows the right spirit within Microsoft and an understanding that it needs an ecosystem to support and add features to its base offering. After all, it's impossible to build it all and focus on every pain point. More partners will be needed to make VDI as easy as it should be. Keep 'em coming!