We’ve been busy here at Leostream, and somehow January is already coming to a close. With the falling snow reminding me that winter is in full swing, it seems like a good time to reflect on what I see in store for the Cloud-Hosted Desktop and Application Market for the remaining eleven months of 2018.
Before I do, however, let’s begin with a little self-evaluation. I made some bold predictions for 2017. Just how well did I do?
A recap of Leostream’s 2017 predictions
Shift to a shrinking VDI stack – First, I posited that organization would move away from full stack, legacy solutions, like those from VMware and Citrix. Clearly, these venders aren’t going away. That said, in 2017, we were approached by more and more organizations looking to shift away from their complex and costly solutions, not only for on-premises deployments, but for hosting resources up in the cloud, as well.
HTML5 clients will go to the next level – Here, I speculated on what WebAssembly could bring to HTML5 clients. So far, WebAssembly hasn’t seen much adoption for VDI clients, but that doesn’t mean it’s not advancing or offering possibilities for the future. More importantly, in 2017, it became even clearer that HTML5 clients are a crucial piece of a hosted desktop deployment. With performance always being an important factor, improving HTML5 clients should still be top of everyone’s minds.
Hyperconverged for VDI – Nailed it. Through 2017, organizations who wanted on-premises VDI solutions increasing turned to hyperconverged systems to run the deployment. New pricing models, such as those by Hypergrid, are lowering the barrier to entry on using hyperconverged systems. We’re looking forward to this trend continuing for 2018.
Enterprises will demand cloud-based workspace solutions that can scale – 2017 saw enterprises adopt cloud-based workspaces at a level that required Organizations once running proof of concepts or trials evolved into larger production environments. This is another trend that will continue for 2018, and it’s a trend that requires solutions that provide high availability and good performance.
The rise of vendor-neutral solutions – This prediction probably seems a little self-serving, but it goes hand-in-hand with the first prediction. Organizations that don’t want to deploy a full-stack solution started looking outside of the box to find products that support a wide range of technologies and use cases. This is yet another trend that will continue, as evident in my first prediction for 2018.
With that segue, and a comment that I didn’t do half bad on last year’s prediction, let’s look ahead to 2018.
2018 Hosted Desktop Predictions
This isn’t a cop out, but I’m only listing three predictions for 2018. Why is that? Finally, it seems like the hosted desktop market is finding its focus, and these are the key things it’s focusing on.
Hybrid cloud is king/queen
This is why vendor neutral, cross platform products are becoming the darling of enterprises and SMBs, alike. In the beginning, we were told that the public cloud would take over for our data center. Now, we know better. The public cloud isn’t a replacement, but an addition to your existing infrastructure, allowing you to reap the benefits from your existing investments while augmenting with resources hosted in the public cloud.
To take advantage of a hybrid cloud approach, you need tools that work across all of your chosen clouds and your existing infrastructure. Companies that provide the hosting platforms (Amazon, Microsoft, Google, VMware, etc.) can wage their own battles for market share, but any product that leverages these platforms and provides services on top of them, must work across all of the platforms to be relevant.
Hosted applications gain importance
Leostream spends a lot of time talking about hosted desktops. Ultimately, however, it’s the applications on the desktop that matter to the users. Applications give access to the data and compute that gets the job done. Solutions that make it faster and easier to deploy and access applications, and give at-desk performance to hosted applications, are key to 2018.
In the wake of last year’s end-of-life for Azure RemoteApp, it will be interesting to see what solutions step up to the plate. With hybrid-cloud and multi-cloud deployments gaining traction, however, any application solution must work across clouds and in the data center.
Protocol performance moves towards becoming a commodity
I’m going out on a limb on this prediction. Display protocol performance is the key to widespread adoption of hosted desktop and applications. In the foreseeable future, there will continue to be workloads, such as CAD or video editing, that require a true high-performance display protocol. More and more, however, we’re hearing that RDP performs just fine for a litany of tasks, and advancements in RDP, along with optimizations for vGPU utilization, are making it applicable to even more graphics-rich applications.
The hypervisor was the first piece of the Hosted Desktop and Application stack to become a commodity. Is the display protocol next?
With that final question, I’ll leave you with eleven months to ponder the possibilities and see what happens. We’re looking forward to finding out, ourselves!