You've probably heard of VDI or Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, which allows IT to create virtualized user desktops that run on remote servers in the datacenter. But, have you heard about the coming of HDI or Hosted Desktop Infrastructure?

VDI sits within the confines of the corporate datacenter while HDI provides the same type of technology except that it is hosted in the public Cloud. Working through research for some upcoming Cloud events here at Windows IT Pro, I am hearing more and more about HDI becoming a near term reality. And, this is even before HDI has a proper definition assigned on Wikipedia.

In May 2013, Mary Jo Foley talked about a Windows Azure solution, codenamed 'Mohoro,' which is a desktop as a service (DaaS) technology that Microsoft is currently working on in hopes of a release at the end of 2014. Later, in July 2013, she covered a similar topic just after Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) where Microsoft modified its licensing structure for Windows Azure to allow Remote Desktop Services (RDS) in the Cloud. But, since then, HDI is getting scary-close to reality.

Microsoft isn't the only vendor working on a publicly hosted desktop solution, though, and there are several offerings that may reveal long before Microsoft rolls out similar technology. Microsoft is steadily moving to a subscription model for everything they produce. A Microsoft HDI would definitely fall under a similar same licensing model as Office 365.

There are definite benefits to using HDI. OS deployments and upgrades, and patching, would be a thing of the past. A hosted solution would mean that upgrades and patches are just part of the service. Users utilizing a hosted desktop would always be running the latest and most secure OS instance. An HDI solution would mean that hardware costs could be drastically minimized. An Internet-enabled monitor or tablet, with or without a keyboard and mouse, would be all that any employee would need to be productive – from anywhere. A hosted desktop solution also means that mobile users, using only smartphones, would be afforded the same industrious experience, all without having to worry about connectivity back to the corporate network.

I'm sure most will not opt for an all or nothing situation where they replace every desktop in the company with a hosted solution, but I'm sure many will find value in providing the solution where it makes sense.

HDI is coming, but is it something that businesses will use or want to use?