The pandemic ushered in a new era of work, where remote and hybrid work became the norm and, as a result, the demand and need for virtualization and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) became increasingly more important to organizations. With remote and hybrid work environments now a permanent fixture, it’s not surprising that the VDI market was worth an estimated $15 billion in 2021. The market, fueled in part by this demand for hybrid and remote work environments, is growing rapidly – an estimated 20 percent compound annual growth rate is projected for every year up to 2028.
To better understand the current state of the virtualization market for end user computing (EUC) a primary research survey was recently conducted – by Parallels (a sub-brand of parent company Alludo) in partnership with Qualtrics – that polled more than 300 IT professionals. The study explored how business users use their virtualization solutions and highlights the challenges they face. In addition, the study investigated how the market is evolving and in which new technology investments are being made.
The key findings of this report – compiled in the latter half of 2022 – were intended to help decision makers understand what their fellow IT administrators, and the companies they work for, want and need most from their digital workspaces and VDI solutions. The following are the key areas respondents noted most about their use and need for VDI.
- Data management and control. The main key drivers among all respondents for adopting VDI are the centralization of data management and the ability to maintain control over an organization’s data. In fact, 33 percent cited both as their primary reasons for using VDI.
- Data security. Security is another top concern of IT professionals, especially as it relates to using the cloud. As many as 29 percent of respondents cited data security as a source of unease.
- Affordability. The third major driver of VDI adoption is affordability, especially in today’s global economic situation. Just under 20 percent of respondents cited using VDI to better control costs, while 23 percent said IT resource usage was a major issue with their current VDI solution.
- Agility. Agility, including flexibility and scalability, was also consistently cited by respondents related to their adoption of VDI, with 28 percent of respondents seeking to improve these aspects of their organization’s EUC environment using VDI solutions and related technologies.
Moving to the Cloud
The study also looked at how organizations are migrating their EUC assets to the cloud to get a sense of cloud technology adoption strategies. Topping the list was the adoption of software-as-a-service (SaaS) (31 percent) followed by infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) (26 percent), desktop-as-a-service (24 percent), and platform-as-a-service (PaaS) (19 percent). A recent Gartner report supports these findings – DaaS, along with related cloud-based services, is experiencing tremendous worldwide year-over-year growth, with $3.104 billion in DaaS-related spending predicted for 2023.
While it’s clear that survey respondents plan to use the cloud in multiple ways in the coming years, the value of the cloud appears to be universal – 100 percent of respondents expected to transition some services to the cloud in 2023. Even so, the majority of environments are expected to continue to use a combination of on-premises and public cloud to host their company applications and data.
Cloud Concerns Persist
As for concerns about moving to the cloud, organizations still have plenty of those. VDI solutions must accomplish multiple goals to be considered successful. They must support cloud migration and be flexible and scalable enough to adapt to organizational needs in a timely and cost-effective manner.
Legacy and line-of-business applications are still important, even as SaaS is growing more rapidly than ever. In fact, being able to support both SaaS and legacy applications could be considered the key to success for a VDI solution. Survey respondents’ top concerns about moving to the cloud include access to legacy applications and data security (29 percent), with a slightly less – but still significant – percentage reporting concerns about cost (18 percent) and compliance with industry security standards (24 percent).
It’s clear to see that organizations are realizing many benefits from VDI, DaaS and virtualization, and the demand is strong. While many claim to be at least somewhat satisfied with how their VDI solutions are performing, there is always room for improvement and users are looking for ways to make management more centralized while reducing security concerns and eliminating the strain on IT resources. That said, making solutions more cost-effective is always valued.
The truth is the cloud is here to stay. IT professionals must ensure that their organizations can accommodate multiple hosting options, including on-premises, multi-cloud or hybrid deployments to publish a mix of desktops and applications that include custom applications (including legacy applications), in-house, SaaS and other off-the-shelf applications. With remote and hybrid work becoming an integral part of the new work culture, IT administrators need to be focused on providing a digital workspace that ensures productivity no matter where employees are working.
Prashant Ketkar is chief technology and product officer for Alludo, a provider of professional-caliber graphics, virtualization and productivity solutions.