Have we hit peak VDI?

Author: Amitabh Sinha

Publish on: Sep 15, 2015 8:30:00 AM

For years, we have been hearing the term "peak oil".  Peak oil, an event based on M. King Hubbert's theory, is the point in time when the maximum rate of extraction of petroleum is reached, after which the rate of production is expected to enter terminal decline.

I want to coin a new term "peak VDI". Let V be the count of the number of virtual desktops in the world. We have reached peak VDI when V stops growing. Early in my tenure with XenDesktop (2009-2011), we were selling millions of XenDesktop licenses per quarter - V was growing rapidly. The expectation was that 30% of the desktops would be VDI desktops. Recently Gartner trimmed the number of virtual desktops to 8%.

See the trend chart below from Google Trends. You can see the number of searches for XenDesktop and VMware View climbing rapidly from 2009 to 2011. Based on this chart, the interest in VDI as measured by number of Google searches peaked in 2012. 

 have we hit peak vdi?



But have we reached peak VDI? That is have all the desktops that were going to be virtualized already been virtualized? Has V maxed out?

There is still lots of $ being spent on VDI. But $ can be spent on VDI without growing V:

  • $ could be spent refreshing ageing VDI infrastructure
  • $ could be spent to swap one vendor out for another

Would love your opinion - have we reached peak VDI? If not, when are we going to reach it?

David Johnson at Forrester wrote a similar article in April 2013: Has VDI Peaked? A Change in the Adoption Drivers Sheds New Light, and New Life. This feels just like peak oil. The oil industry asks the same question every few months!

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