Investment in Desktop Virtualization Stalls

May, 2013

About 20% of organizations in North America have deployed virtual desktops. However, the number of organizations investing in the technology peaked in 2010 and has been in decline since then, according our study, Desktop Virtualization Adoption Trends and Customer Experience.

The market has stalled after an initial flurry of activity and experimentation, but new and disruptive technologies often undergo a pause after the initial period of experimentation. Rationalizing the cost of virtual desktop deployments purely on the basis of hardware and software savings remains a challenge. The business case for desktop virtualization must come from more strategic benefits, including business continuity, flexibility, security, ease of maintenance, and mobility. Therefore, we continue to recommend that IT executives closely track developments in this area.

Our adoption profile in Figure 1 compares the adoption, investment, ROI success, and TCO success rates of desktop virtualization against the rates for 13 other technologies commonly used in business. Compared with these other technologies, the adoption and investment rates for desktop virtualization are low. This technology is still emerging, and its trajectory toward mainstream adoption remains uncertain.

DesktopVirt Fig1 - Investment in Desktop Virtualization Stalls

We also classify desktop virtualization as offering an ROI success rate that is on the high side of moderate and a TCO success rate that is high. The study defines the ROI success rate as the percentage of organizations reaching a break-even point on the investment within a two-year period. The TCO success rate is the percentage of organizations that come in at or at less than budget for the cost of implementing and supporting the technology.

The full study provides an overview of the key concepts and vendors in this space. We then examine desktop virtualization adoption and investment 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. We present worldwide adoption and investment rates, adoption by organization size, and adoption in North America over time. We also look at the return on investment (ROI) experience and total cost of ownership (TCO) experience of adopters and report on how much they are budgeting per user for new and follow-on investments in virtual desktop solutions. We conclude with recommendations.

This Research Byte is a brief overview of our report on this subject, Desktop Virtualization Adoption Trends and Customer Experience, 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).