Editorial: Taking virtualisation to the edge

Desktop virtualisation from take-up to benefits and sales approach

Virtualisation was without doubt, the most widely discussed technology last year, and one of the most successfully deployed. And as customers look to rein in costs, and mitigate risk to avoid succumbing to the economic downturn, virtualisation is also proving one of the best opportunities for the channel this year.

The argument for adopting server virtualisation is what many call a “no-brainer”. As a back-end infrastructure play, server virtualisation is about consolidating physical units, lowering power consumption and quicker and more reliable disaster recovery. It offers clear cost reduction benefits which, in today’s climate, are critical for customers.

Desktop virtualisation, on the other hand, presents a different value proposition. According to industry thought-leaders participating in our recent desktop virtualisation roundtable, these range from standardisation, security, and stronger management tools, to better equipping remote or temporary workers. The case for virtualising desktops also varies depending on which market you are talking about: SMBs for example, could use the technology to finally gain control of their desktop environments and conquer the tyranny of distance, while enterprise users could see this as an elegant way to unify client platforms.

But there are still some hurdles to jump before desktop virtualisation becomes a mainstream technology platform. Many customers are not aware of the real costs of their desktop environment, which neutralises the cost argument for desktop virtualisation.

Those looking to adopt desktop virtualisation will also need to have or access appropriate networking and server infrastructure to ensure they have enough bandwidth and storage capacity to use it successfully.

This Below the Line supplement, ARN’s first for 2009, looks at where desktop virtualisation take-up is at, as well as the key benefits it brings to the table. We’ve also investigated the sales approach for desktop virtualisation and whether this is changing as a result of the global economic slump.

New technology platforms, such as software-as-a-service and cloud computing, are going to change the face of computing in the future. At a client level, the popularity of netbooks and smart mobile devices like the iPhone and BlackBerry, also raise questions around how users will interact with applications in different environments.

What is clear is that desktop virtualisation, and virtualisation to the end client, is going to be an area of growth and discussion for years to come.

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