The Hosted Virtual Desktop

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Hosted virtual desktop (HVD), desktop virtualization, separates a personal computer desktop environment from a physical machine using the client-server model of computing.1 This model partitions tasks or workloads between the providers of a resource or service, called servers, and service requesters, called clients.2 Simply stated, a client is a device, such as a desktop, tablet or laptop, with local storage. The purpose of HVD is to make it possible for a user to access specific applications, programs, etc., located on a central server, through their user credentials. Access may be gained from anywhere through any enabled device, including desktop and notebook computers, tablets, even smart phones (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Basic Hosted Virtual Desktop Infrastructure

According to a recent Gartner survey, by 2014, HVDs will be used to deliver client computing capabilities to 70 million users. Since the initial cost of entry is high, only the implementation of user groups of 250 or more users will provide a reasonable return on investment. Therefore, we assume midsize and large businesses are and will continue to be the most likely to adopt HVD (Figure 2).3


  2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
HVD Installed Base (Thousands) 465 1,547 5,693 13,600 26,065 46,506 70,269
HVD Users (Thousands) 383 1,165 4,145 7,906 12,465 20,440 23,765
HVD Installed Base as a Share of Desktop Installed Base (%) 0.1 0.4 1.3 3.1 5.9 10.4 15.5

Source: Gartner - Forecast: Hosted Virtual Desktops, Worldwide, 2010 - 2014 (2010 Update), pg 9. See footnote 3.

FIGURE 2: HVD User Adoption

In a 2011 Gartner survey, 70% of respondents, when asked what was driving their organizations’ plans to invest in HVD technology, answered that business agility was the main driver. Almost 43% of respondents expect the impact HVDs will have on their data center infrastructure will come in the form of purchasing additional servers and/or purchasing additional storage capacity.4

What does this mean for Seagate? HVDs are a positive force. Additional storage is needed on both the client device and on servers used for HDVs by which the user, through the client, can access provided applications and programs. Because an important feature of an HVD is increased agility (giving the user access to work from any enabled device), a user may create content anywhere, at any time. Ultimately, as HVDs reduce content creation barriers and fewer barriers lead to increased access to create content, this drives the need for more storage. According to Seagate, average petabytes shipped has increased since 1995 at a rate of 55% year-over-year. This trend is expected to continue, and with companies that are implementing HVDs predicting that further servers and storage will be necessary for implementation, data growth will continue to rise. This, in turn, will require even more storage.


1Wikipedia, Desktop Virtualization -

2wikipedia, client-server model -

3Gartner, Forecast: Hosted Virtual Desktops, Worldwide, 2010 – 2014 (2010 Update), pg 1, 9, December 1, 2010

4Gartner, User Survey Analysis: The Impact of Server and Desktop Virtualization in the Data Center, Worldwide 2010, page 13, January 6, 2011

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