Desktop Virtualization Interest High, Adoption Low

March, 2010

Judging by the number of conference presentations, promotional events, free educational sessions, vendor-sponsored research, and new product announcements, you would think this is destined to be the year of the virtual desktop. Yet our study, Desktop Virtualization Adoption, ROI, and TCO, indicates that while desktop virtualization may be a promising technology, adoption remains limited to a small percentage of organizations.

Figure 1 shows that only about 14% of organizations have implemented some form of desktop virtualization within their organizations. A slightly more positive indication of the market outlook is that current investors outnumber those with the technology in place. The 18% of organizations currently investing in the technology include organizations that are expanding existing implementations as well as first-time implementers.

1 Desktop Fig1 - Desktop Virtualization Interest High, Adoption Low

The full report first examines desktop virtualization adoption trends, providing data on how many organizations have the technology in place, how many are in the process of implementing it, and how many are expanding implementations. To give additional insight, we look at the economic experience of those that have adopted virtualized desktops. We examine return on investment (ROI) experience in terms of the percentage of organizations that report positive and break-even ROI within a two-year period. We also balance the potential ROI against the risks, measured in terms of the percentage of organizations that exceed budgets for total cost of ownership (TCO).

We anticipate that in the near term it will remain a technology that IT executives will be watching closely but refraining from embracing in great numbers until the risks and rewards are more clearly established. Desktop virtualization appears to meet a far wider variety of needs than in the past, when thin-client architecture was introduced to meet similar requirements. Nevertheless, the costs of implementation, complexity of choosing the right product, and the immaturity of the technology itself still pose considerable risk.


This Research Byte is a brief overview of our report on this subject, Desktop Virtualization Adoption, ROI, and TCO. The full report is available at no charge for Computer Economics clients, or it may be purchased by non-clients directly from our website (click for pricing).