Region Focus: Worldwide

Virtual Client Computing 2022–2023 Vendor Assessment

December 2022 | us49857422
Shannon Kalvar

Shannon Kalvar

Research Director, IT Service Management and Client Virtualization

Hiroshi Shibutani

Hiroshi Shibutani

Senior Market Analyst, PC, Mobile & Client Solution, IDC Japan

Product Type:
IDC: MarketScape
This Excerpt Features: Microsoft

IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Virtual Client Computing 2022–2023 Vendor Assessment

Capabilities Strategies Participants Contenders Major Players Leaders


MicrosoftFeatured Vendor



Major Players







IDC MarketScape Methodology

IDC Opinion

It is cliché at this point to say that the COVID-19 pandemic radically changed the way that we work. From location to time, from blurring the boundaries between work and life to profound restructuring of the labor market, the past two years ushered in changes many thought were decades away. This, perforce, forced a change to all software markets supporting remote work, asynchronous work, and workforce automation.

Virtual client computing (VCC) is one such software market. Before 2020, the market already showed signs of expanding beyond its traditional use cases of security, temporary workstations, and application compatibility. Independent software vendors took up application virtualization as a method for delivering software as a service without refactoring code. Enterprises began to explore automation and intelligence in the workspace, while reducing the staff they had to manage complex virtualization implementations. This expanded the permeation of virtualization in the enterprise, with organizations offering up to 20% of their workspaces through virtualization by 2022.

The pandemic vastly accelerated this adoption, forcing some organizations to go “all in,” and others to expand their installations, offering anywhere in the range of 50–100% of their workspaces through a combination of virtualized applications for specific uses and virtualized desktops for general activities. The use cases also expanded alongside a wave of security incidents, with security firms discovering they could quickly restore a company to business functionality through judicious virtualization of key applications, data, and desktop assets.

This shift, unfortunately, brought clarity to the evolving role of virtualization in the now emerging “intelligent digital workspace,” an ecosystem of interrelated technologies ranging from intelligent service fulfillment systems to content management and collaboration applications. Virtualization, both application and desktop, is seen as a necessary but not particularly exciting component of the ecosystem. This has forced established vendors to recalibrate their offerings and extend their partnerships to include more, and more varied, software and hardware vendors.

The reduction in operational staff has also driven a movement to the “cloud,” particularly the provisioning of infrastructure as a service instead of dedicated hardware in datacenters for compute provisioning. The reduction also opened up an opportunity for automation along all tasks in the virtualization stack, leading to the creation of bundles of automated services, monitoring, software, and infrastructure as a service marketed as “desktop as a service” (DaaS).

Desktop as a service is a broad term, applied to a wide range of offerings, in a relatively indiscriminate manner. Some offerings come directly from virtualization vendors, others from cloud providers, and still others from systems integrators and service providers. This document does not attempt to untangle that web of offerings; instead, it treats DaaS as one of several capabilities offered as part of a full-spectrum virtual client computing suite. A formal IDC MarketScape for desktop as a service will follow this more general IDC MarketScape for VCC.

Tech Buyer Advice

Virtualization is a necessary but not prominent aspect of hybrid work, a technology that provides the core functionality needed for remote and hybrid work but is overshadowed by flashier and “more important” technologies. It is also an approach that has, traditionally, required a strong team with broad training in infrastructure and operations as well as application management and specific virtualization technology training.

In the current labor market, it is difficult if not impossible to hire people with the requisite experience and skills to run a completely autonomous virtualization solution. Instead, CIOs and other buyers should focus on identifying and delivering only the critical functions they can themselves, using desktop as a service and cloud-hosted application virtualization for all other noncritical functions.

In addition, IDC research indicates that application and desktop virtualization solutions are almost entirely “hybrid cloud,” with resources stretched across the enterprise’s datacenters, various public cloud providers, and software-as-a-service companies. This is a reflection of the modern work environment — resources are aggregated from many places to create the “digital workspace,” and virtualization perforce follows the workloads. Attempts to “unify” or “rationalize” virtualization environments tend to go poorly; instead focus on selecting the right solution for the critical use cases selected previously.

An additional primary finding from IDC research is that endpoint management, although a separate category for application and desktop virtualization, is critical to the success of the virtualization ecosystem. Perceived problems with virtualization are often, at their root, errors in the endpoint management system instead.

Finally, IDC research also indicates that vendors need to assume primary responsibility for managing and extending their ecosystem. This is a logical extension of both the challenging labor situation and the complexity of modern work environments. Practically, this means that a buyer needs to carefully examine the ecosystem maintained by the suppliers, ensuring that the systems and tools they use are actively a part of the supplier’s ecosystem. More than one virtualization deployment has been hamstrung by issues with headphones and printers, video cameras, and USB docking stations, all far beyond the direct reach of IT support in the current hybrid work environment.

Featured Vendor


Microsoft is positioned in the Major Players category in this 2022–2023 IDC MarketScape for worldwide virtual client computing.

Based in Redmond, Washington, Microsoft is a public cloud, operating system, and software provider with a long history of providing virtual application and desktop solutions both natively and in coordination with partners. 


Microsoft’s offerings are central to on-premises virtual desktop infrastructure. It also offers application and desktop offering deeply embedded in its Azure cloud offerings as well as desktop-as-a-service offerings with Windows 365. It sees Windows 365 as not just a virtualization offering but as a path to opening a new category of “Cloud PC,” where the user’s operating environment is tied more closely to applications and data than it is to the endpoint device.

Microsoft, both through its position as the developer of Windows and its long history in the market, has a broad and deep ecosystem of both partner relationships and technology integrations related to virtualization. It works with established players like Citrix and VMware as well as start-ups and stable new providers to ensure the viability of its solutions in a wide range of use cases, including application virtualization.


As a primary cloud provider, Microsoft does not natively support managing virtualized resources across the entire hybrid environment. However, it does have on-premises management options for servers and endpoint devices, which can be used to provide minimal functionality.

In addition, customers indicated they face considerable confusion around how and when to select the many Azure Virtual Desktop and Windows 365 options to best align solutions with specific use cases. This confusion and complexity is reflective of the larger context of change described in the market context discussions. Microsoft has made progress in clarifying the hierarchy for its own products, but it remains a highly complex topic. A thriving industry of advisors and managed service providers exists to help with this confusion but involving a third party can become a source of additional expense and complexity in itself.

Consider Microsoft When

Microsoft’s solutions are directly or indirectly a part of most existing environments. The company can be used independently as a solution provider in organizations of any size, but medium-sized and large environments will likely require additional operations and management tools from one or more of the vendors listed in this IDC MarketScape.

To learn more about Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop click here.


IDC MarketScape Vendor Inclusion Criteria

Vendors were selected for this IDC MarketScape based on the following criteria:

  • Operate and have clients in more than one geographic market (Americas, EMEA, Asia/Pacific, etc.)
  • Provide application and/or desktop virtualization support directly to customers
  • Provide the ability to manage hybrid (private and public cloud) architectures
  • Have developed an ecosystem of partnerships enhancing operational and endpoint functionality

Have an extended market presence, sufficient to indicate they can sustain a mission-critical technology system for at least five yearsThese last two points are important particularly for enterprise technology buyers. Virtualization is one part of an ecosystem of technologies used to deliver core business functionality — it must be able to connect the virtualized application/desktop to any peripherals they need and must provide consistent, effective functionality for the duration of the system’s deployment. Neither of these is possible when the providing company is funded by venture capital or otherwise financially unstable.

Reading an IDC MarketScape Graph

For the purposes of this analysis, IDC divided potential key measures for success into two primary categories: capabilities and strategies.

Positioning on the y-axis reflects the vendor’s current capabilities and menu of services and how well aligned the vendor is to customer needs. The capabilities category focuses on the capabilities of the company and product today, here and now. Under this category, IDC analysts will look at how well a vendor is building/delivering capabilities that enable it to execute its chosen strategy in the market.

Positioning on the x-axis, or strategies axis, indicates how well the vendor’s future strategy aligns with what customers will require in three to five years. The strategies category focuses on high-level decisions and underlying assumptions about offerings, customer segments, and business and go-to- market plans for the next three to five years.

The size of the individual vendor markers in the IDC MarketScape represents the market share of each individual vendor within the specific market segment being assessed.

IDC MarketScape Methodology

IDC MarketScape criteria selection, weightings, and vendor scores represent well-researched IDC judgment about the market and specific vendors. IDC analysts tailor the range of standard characteristics by which vendors are measured through structured discussions, surveys, and interviews with market leaders, participants, and end users. Market weightings are based on user interviews, buyer surveys, and the input of IDC experts in each market. IDC analysts base individual vendor scores, and ultimately vendor positions on the IDC MarketScape, on detailed surveys and interviews with the vendors, publicly available information, and end-user experiences in an effort to provide an accurate and consistent assessment of each vendor’s characteristics, behavior, and capability.

Market Definition

Virtual client computing software enables a client computing model that leverages a range of brokering software and display protocols to enable server-based client computing and improves upon the limitations associated with the traditional distributed desktop environment.

The VCC market includes:

  • Products that enable the configuration and management of centralized virtual desktop, virtual user session, and other forms of client virtualization to include type 2 hypervisor, containerized, and cloud-based solutions for delivering virtualized desktops and application
  • Management software specifically targeted at the configuration, control, and operations of VCC solutions

Virtual client computing has traditionally been used for specific, tightly managed, and secured use cases and for low-volume remote access (~10% of the employee population). Recent years have seen a shift in this, with VCC becoming more of a general-use computing/remote access solution.

Related Research

The following research illuminates and extends the research in this document:

  • IDC State of Global Skills (IDC #US49747822, October 2022)
  • IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Future of Work 2023 Predictions (IDC #US48711022, October 2022)
  • Decision Patterns and Personas in the Intelligent Digital Workspace (IDC #US49688322, September 2022)
  • Market Analysis Perspective: Worldwide Virtual Client Computing, 2022 (IDC #US49674922, September 2022)
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IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Virtual Client Computing 2022–2023 Vendor Assessment