Grabbing a slice of desktop and application virtualisation

Graphical depiction of virtualisation with bright lights emerging from servers

What this will have illustrated to many companies is the need to offer users the a capability to access applications from any place at any time, to make their desktop truly portable, without placing undue strain on the IT department.

Key drivers

Little wonder then that Gartner is predicting that virtualisation will continue in 2010 to be one of the top 10 technologies or that it has now reached mainstream adoption. Whilst server virtualisation has now reached critical mass, if not commodity status, desktop and application virtualisation are experiencing a dramatic upsurge in customer demand. In other words, offering users the ability to access applications as a service over the internet – whether this is just the individual applications, or the complete desktop system.

The benefits of such an environment are reduction in costs on a number of levels: the ability to reduce the total cost of ownership by centralising the management of applications and/or desktops in the data centre; the reduction in energy consumption and the ability to have lower cost thin clients or netbooks at the client side, plus an extension to the lifecycle of desktops.

Other key drivers for some organisations and government institutions is the need to meet green targets to reduce CO2 emissions and the increased security, flexibility and ability to enforce compliance facilitated by centralising and managing desktops in the datacentre.

SME market place

Virtualisation as a concept is not a new one, indeed server virtualisation has been around since the 1970s. But, for those of you who haven’t embraced the concept of desktop or application virtualisation to date, now is a good time to make a move. Why?

Put simply the market has reached a level of maturity where the prices are affordable and attractive, not just for the large enterprise user but also for the SME market. It is becoming an intrinsic part of many companies infrastructure strategy moving forward and there is now a choice of vendors to partner with.

IDC predicts that the global market for desktop and application virtualisation will reach $3bn in 2010. What’s more it’s not just about selling the software and infrastructure per se. The option exists for ISVs and MSPs to provide desktop and application virtualisation as a hosted service and choosing the easiest to manage environment is of vital importance.

Now is also a good time to be talking to your customers about their desktop strategies as many are contemplating a move to Windows 7 and looking for the least painful way to accomplish the migration. For others the opportunity to enable different applications such as a legacy and a new application to co-exist on a single desktop also holds an appeal. So educating your customers about the options available can pay dividends.

Choosing a vendor

So you’ve decided to incorporate a virtualisation solution into your portfolio. Should you go with one of the acknowledged market leaders or partner with an innovative newcomer to the UK market? To make that decision it’s important to evaluate the pros and cons of the different products, channel programmes and business opportunities and how they fit with your own plans and customer base.

Whilst it may be easier to sell a solution from a brand leader, innovative technologies from newer entrants like Systancia, which integrates seamlessly with any of the solutions from companies like Citrix, VMware and Microsoft, can offer better margins as well as greater scope to differentiate your own proposition against your competitor’s. Newcomers to the market are also more likely to be open to considering new joint initiatives to broaden your, and their market share, rather than ending up in a discounting war over price.

Look also for proven success in any vertical markets that you may focus on. Whilst being new to the UK market, look at their successes in their home market to see how compelling a proposition they offer customers and how successful they are in winning deals over competition as an indication of their potential in this market place.

Virtualisation is here to stay as a core element of the IT infrastructure; on a server, desktop and application level. Carving out a lucrative slice of this market for your organisation could be an attractive proposition for 2010.