Top 5 obstacles to wider VDI adoption

Server and storage virtualization are being embraced by companies both large and small -- so what's causing the roadblock for VDI?

Organizations of all sizes have been embracing the notion of virtualization within their environments over the past decade, and they've implemented server and storage virtualization solutions in order to lower their costs and reduce complexities. Despite the fact that desktop virtualization offers many of the same technological benefits as its virtualization siblings, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) hasn't yet received the same warm reception.

Why is that? What makes the desktop so resistant to change? The first generation of VDI technologies certainly didn't help the cause. It was too expensive to deploy, speeds were slow, and users could easily tell the difference between it and their normal installations. But with advancements made over time, these common objections have either been dismissed or greatly improved upon with next-generation VDI technologies.

[ Also on Check out the top five reasons to consider VDI in 2011 | And find out why networking may be on the path to becoming 'interesting' again. | Keep up-to-date on virtualization by signing up for InfoWorld's Virtualization newsletter. ]

"Customer perception around VDI is stuck in what they understand of Gen1 technology -- poorly planned proof of concepts and out of control TCO due to technology gaps," explains Antony Satyadas, solution strategist at IBM. "VDI Gen2 is a game changer, and as customers have an opportunity to experience it, we expect the momentum to swing."

So with increased security concerns, rising energy costs, and an economic slowdown in 2011, why aren't more companies looking to VDI as a possible alternative? What could be holding them back from moving to this alternative desktop approach? Here are five of the key reasons that may be currently blocking your organization:

VDI obstacle 1: VDI requires the desktop, storage, network, virtualization and data center guys to work together. Where we are with VDI is very similar to where we were with the Web in the mid-1990s -- adoption was slow but growing, and consumers were interested but cautious. Much of that caution originated with the lack of oversight into various IT projects. One of the driving forces in the acceleration of the Internet was the rise of the CIO. This role meant someone could formulate a coherent strategy around the Web.

These days, VDI is driving a centralization of infrastructure strategy in a similar way. As IT has evolved, it has become increasingly siloed, once again. In perhaps most cases, the desktop management group knows very little, if nothing at all, about the server management group. The storage strategy for PCs versus the storage strategy in the data center and the associated costs and complexity are colliding worlds.

Jim Curtin, CEO of Virtual Bridges says the impact of elevated traffic on the network infrastructure brought on by virtual desktops is yet another area of concern. Curtin stated, "This siloed nature is wreaking havoc on the network, and as a result, we are seeing a re-centralization of siloed functions and services that is forcing various IT departments to work together. CIOs are playing a larger role and are showing a significant interest in VDI. As they continue to take back the network, we expect to see a serious transformation from the PC era to the virtual desktop era."

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