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Analyst: Cloud, 'Digitial Workspaces' Shake Up Virtual Client Computing Space

Research firm IDC published a report on virtual client computing (VCC), an industry it says has been changed by the rise of public clouds and the growth of organizational "digital workspaces."

That observation comes in an IDC MarketScape report titled "Worldwide Virtual Client Computing 2019–2020 Vendor Assessment." That assessment places VMware and Citrix in the "Leaders" category, with the next tier, "Major Players," featuring Microsoft, Amazon, Parallels, dinCloud and CloudJumper, while "Contenders" are said to include Huawei, Dizzion and Workspot. No one was relegated to the bottom rung, "Particiapants."

Worldwide Virtual Client Computing
2019–2020 Vendor Assessment
[Click on image for larger view.] Worldwide Virtual Client Computing 2019–2020 Vendor Assessment (source: IDC).

IDC says the VCC space "includes software and systems designed to abstract applications and desktops away from the client device, allowing for additional layers of control and security. These systems may simply present another operating system on the device itself; draw on resources from a private cloud, a hosted environment, or the public cloud; or use a combination of these features along with the emerging concepts of edge computing and adaptive design to create complex digital workspaces."

As noted, IDC remarked on changes in the industry caused by the advent of those digital workspaces.

"For decades, the VCC market has revolved around a core set of compatibility, mobility, and security use cases and been tied to expensive/lengthy infrastructure purchase cycles," the report says. "This has recently changed, first with the advent of public cloud sourcing for infrastructure resources and with an evolution in the capability to create integrated 'digital workspaces.'"

Increasing reliance on public cloud infrastructure is an obvious factor, as it provides resources for virtual applications or desktops, such as Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) that theoretically foster rapid provisioning and deprovisioning of computing resources, though the utopian hype hasn't quite matched the operational reality, according to IDC.

The second disruptive factor, digital workspaces, involved a longer explanation.

"Digital workspaces are an emerging area in which the vendor expands the desktop workspace in a variety of ways, usually in conjunction with its existing virtualization technology," IDC said. "This expansion is generally around either task aggregation or work observation, with a focus on different approaches to enhancing individual awareness of and simplification of tasks to be completed. The workspace may also include edge computing, IoT devices, and artificial intelligence (AI) for aggregation, execution, or organization of information/tasks."

In providing advice to technology buyers, those market-changing factors led IDC to define two customer profiles in the space, for which picking a vendor used to be more straightforward in a mature market with well-known capabilities:

  • Profile one: Desktop-as-a-Service customer. The DaaS customers look to take advantage of well-established features of application and desktop virtualization without investing heavily in hyperconverged infrastructure.
  • Profile two: Emerging workspace customer. The workspace customer is faced with a work environment that has reached a level of complexity that can no longer be sustained.

All of the above sets the stage for IDC documenting the perceived strengths and weaknesses of each vendor.

"Solutions in the virtual client computing market have markedly improved over the past few years, pushed by innovations in the workplace and the advent of key behavioral indicators," said Shannon Kalvar, research manager, in the conclusion of the January report. "Vendors are now offering a wide range of solutions to meet the needs of customers where they are, as they evolve, rather than shoehorning requirements into a handful of solutions."

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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