Developments in the field of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) are poised to affect the way in which enterprises deal with security, flexibility, and mobility in the workplace in 2017. The New Year brings numerous possibilities, whether it is WebAssembly, hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI), or increased reliance on a shrinking stack, and no, that has nothing to do with that shrinking stack of pancakes at the breakfast table!
Though it remains to be seen how organizations and industries seeking to expand or adopt their hosted desktop environments will be affected by the changes, a few virtualization trends are sure to take center stage in 2017. Let’s look at the most important.
Deconstructed VDI leads to a shrinking stack
Years ago, the common practice was for the major VDI market players to sell full-stack solutions. Some of the most significant ones included:
- Hypervisors capable of hosting virtual desktops
- Security gateways that would help users tunnel into a particular network (tunnel into – no, this has nothing to do with “The Shawshank Redemption”; Andy Dufresne is not tech savvy!)
- Connection brokers capable of handling assignments
- Display protocols for connecting users with their desktops
However, the IT sector has changed immensely over the last few years. Now the widespread use of the cloud, datacenters defined by software, and hyper-converged hardware all contribute to the lowering of expenses, greater efficiency, and improvements in business processes.
The separation of components increases the flexibility of IT. At the same time, end users gain increased productivity and the datacenter becomes future-proof. This is what deconstructed VDIs are all about.
Deconstructed VDI no longer keeps the resource layer within the VDI stack, and this allows you to combine various hosting environments as per your requirements. Deconstructed VDI’s purpose is to mix every piece together to create a single, cohesive system that can easily be managed via a VDI stack that itself is a combination of display protocol, connection broker, and gateway.
The result is more flexibility in terms of your resource layer, and you also have the opportunity of changing the location of your resource hosting over time. No one wants to be stuck in the same place for years on end! Well, some do, but that is another topic!
Rise of automation
In 2017, automation is going to play an instrumental role in the speeding up of enterprise deployments. It will also affect their capacity to orchestrate and then scale out IT infrastructure. The number of companies and industries seeking to use advanced automation for improving their efficiency is on the rise. The fast-food industry in high minimum-wage states and cities knows all about this.
The next stage in HTML 5 VDI clients
The popularity of HTML5 VDI clients has led numerous VDI vendors to build custom HTML5 clients. They use these clients to access remote desktops present in their stacks. Interestingly, these clients have a lot of features that are sure to make end users happy. Since they’re clientless solutions, they simplify the rollout process.
End users are capable of connecting to desktops from their choice of device, such as mobile devices. This gives impetus to BYOD (bring your own device) initiatives, and since they’re technically a gateway, they also offer remote access.
There is a huge demand for new technologies capable of enhancing HTML5 client performance. The top choice right now is WebAssembly. It has emerged as the new standard, and has received backing from tech giants such as Mozilla, Google, and Microsoft. This trend is going to catch on in 2017.
VDI deployments via vendor-neutral solutions
Users now want VDI environments that are centrally managed and flexible. The keyword here is options. Companies want options for hosting desktops in the platform of their choice – whether physical or virtual infrastructure, a privately or publicly hosted datacenter, and so forth. Moreover, they sometimes require support for both Linux and Windows systems, along with several display protocols.
Vendor neutrality allows you to keep all your options open. This isn’t a fresh trend in the VDI industry, but it has become a necessity in 2017. VDI adopters don’t just want to future proof their stacks; they’re also pushing the boundaries of deployments and reaping the benefits of vendor neutral solutions.
Continuous deployment and integration
2017 will see the growth of DevOps and regression testing through the expansion of orchestration tools, such as continuous deployment and continuous integration.
Scalable solutions based on the cloud
The last few years have seen the Server Message Block (SMB) sector embrace DaaS (Desktop as a Service). Now bigger enterprises want in on the trend. Expansive, cloud-based workspace solutions may be the future for enterprises.
However, the process of delivering desktops to such an environment is not only difficult, but the stakes are high as well. Developments in the field of connection broker technology have played a major role in fulfilling the demands of enterprise DaaS clients. This allows them to use public or private cloud solutions.
A connection broker may be used to acquire new desktop batches, and assign them to users depending on policies. In complex cases, connection brokers satisfy improved workflows, which need non-persistent and persistent desktops, desktop pools, multi-capacity, and tenacity management.
Any virtual workspace that’s cloud hosted is definitely going to stay. Moreover, they are gradually becoming a daily reality for bigger deployments through the use of complete toolsets.
HCI will continue to make waves in the virtualization industry in 2017. If you want to refresh your datacenter hardware, you should pick a hyper-converged system, especially one capable of hosting VDI. HCI integrates virtualization resources, storage, computing, and networking into a commodity hardware box that’s supported by one vendor. All of them are managed by one software toolset.
- Hyper-converged infrastructure evolved from converged systems. The only difference is, instead of buying a chassis with separate hardware for separate infrastructure functions, all of it gets squished into one unit.
- HCI has some inherent benefits for VDI user workloads. In the past, VDI deployments became complicated due to storage costs and configuration. Now that all of it is in a single box, and remains software-controlled, you just add another box if you want greater capacity. In this kind of an ever-changing virtualization space, HCI is a game changer.
The high level of interest in virtualization solutions among established users is the main reason for new trends. Though most of the offerings have managed to reach feature parity with each other, there still exists plenty of opportunity for considerable growth in this market.