Dealing with desktop virtualisation

Dealing with desktop virtualisation

NComputing entered the local market about a year ago with its virtual desktop idea and has since signed its first distribution agreement with Ingram Micro. ARN recently caught up with the vendor’s vice-president of worldwide sales, Don Beck, to discuss the uptake of virtual desktops and where the channel opportunities are.

What is the current state of the virtual desktop market?

Don Beck (DB): We’ve only been in business for about two-and-a-half years and we’re approaching a million seats deployed of our technology globally. We’re in a very robust market and even though there have been many industry analysts saying [in regards to the world market] that IT spending will be down by about five to seven per cent, they’re saying that doesn’t apply to virtualisation. Having a million seats validates that virtualisation, especially in the desktop segment, is a very significant growth area on a worldwide basis.

Over the last 10 years the processing power in a PC has increased 1000 fold. What hasn’t kept up is the software. We have an ability to tap into that technology and expand it out from seven to 30 different users. In my opinion the definition of disruptive technology is where you increase the performance and lower the cost of the solution.

The PC is sitting at around $US500, which doesn’t leave a lot of margin for channel resellers. With our product at the distribution level you have a 10 to 15 per cent margin and a 20 to 30 per cent margin at the reseller level. The PC market place has been measured at 750 million to 850 million PCs being deployed on a global basis. You truly need a disruptive technology approach to open up to new users, take that 750 million to 850 million users and then double it over time.

What are some virtual desktop opportunities the channel can capitalise on?

DB: Our solution sits across various industries. We get 50 per cent of our revenue from education and the other half from commercial business, with the majority being in manufacturing and healthcare. Education is an industry that has really validated our market place and technology. We have some very sizeable deployments in certain school districts in countries like India, where they have said that in order for our youth to compete in the world labour market, they need professional computers. The capital expenditure and cost of our solution versus a traditional PC is about half.

What are some of the user concerns associated with switching to a virtual desktop environment?

DB: We really replicate the user experience, so they don’t even know they’re at a virtual desktop. In 2009, it’s going to become not only a well received business concept, you’re also going to start seeing more people coming into the market place trying to approach virtualisation from a desktop standpoint.

We have a different approach to the market than our competition, where they take a machine and divide it up into multiple users. And they each have their own operating system, application and the overhead associated with that. We take one operating system, one application and share that among multiple users. The ergonomics is very different.

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