VDI density issues to be addressed in 2010: Citrix

The number of virtual machines per server set to increase to a point where virtual desktop infrastructure achieves a ROI of under 12 months

Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is set to become a feasible, cost–effective approach to souring in the coming year with a key challenge to the technology – the workable number of virtual PCs per server – becoming resolved, according to Citrix.

Speaking to Computerworld, Toby Knight, director of desktop technologies for Citrix A/NZ, said for its part, Citrix had managed to increase the average number of virtual PCs hosted per server from 40-50 up to 70-80.

“At that 70-80 level you get a return on investment in around 11 months,” Knight said. “It’s probably reached the point now where it is cost effective to use the [VDI] model.

“A target of all the vendors in that space is to increase the density. We’re releasing a new version of our hypervisor early next year and we think we’ll increase that 70-80 figure by another 20 to 30 per cent.”

In the same way that VMware had released its PCoverIP protocol to help address the issues of varying VDI user experience, Knight said Citrix had released its HDX protocol – an update to its ICA protocol - during the year.

“We’ve been working to deliver what we call the ‘next generation desktop’ which includes Windows 7, unified communications, VoIP, rich multimedia content and the ability to support a range of different peripherals,” he said.

“We need to deliver on that vision for customers and with the HDX protocol leveraging Xen Desktop 4 we think we are well positioned to deliver a good, or better user experience than they are getting today over the different networks and devices users are accessing VDI from.”

Commenting on drivers for VDI, Knight said the trend toward hot desking would be another driver for VDI uptake in 2010, particularly among state governments looking to set up hub offices outside major CBDs.

“What we are seeing is a trend toward distributed government organisations and agencies, and due to the cost of office real estate, carbon offset taxes, and the ability to create a more efficient workforce we are seeing the trend toward hub offices which are simply office space with network connections back into the government infrastructure,” he said.

“The theory is that people will drive into these hub office, connect to the services they need for the day, and go. That has a number of benefits in reducing the time on the road, a more flexible lifestyle and some big implications for carbon offsets.”

Knight added that the company was also continuing to work on smartphone virtualisation, receiving strong demand for its Receiver application which allows access to virtualised desktops and applications via devices such as the iPhone.

Email Computerworld or follow @computerworldau on Twitter.

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Tags VMwareCitrixvirtual desktopsVirtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)

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