Hewlett-Packard (HP) has expanded to incorporate a new business unit that will focus on desktop virtualization. Client-side virtualization has been a tough sell, primarily because the ROI comes from areas that companies aren’t used to valuing, such as security, technical support and power savings over regular desktops or notebooks. “Generally, these are encompassed in the facilities cost of the buildings,” said Roberto Moctezuma, VP and GM of the new desktop solutions global business unit. “When we present the ROI case to customers they find it very compelling, but it’s not as granular as in the server virtualization world.”
Although no major product announcements will be made for another two weeks, HP shows promise in the client-side virtualization space due to its Remote Graphics Software (RGS), a technology that seeks to address one of the obstacles of virtual desktop adoption to date: the lack of graphics capabilities. RGS enables remote users to access high-end graphic software such as CAD.
Mixed virtual environments
HP hopes to position itself as a one-stop shoppinag vendor for all types of virtualization and data center purchases. “We think we have a unique portfolio in terms of breadth from the client-side and access devices, to notebooks to hardware for the data center coupled with differentiated software and manageability offerings.”
Partnerships with all three major virtualization vendors (VMware, Microsoft and Citrix) have allowed HP to preload their thin client devices with any of the above platforms, which enables a plug-and-play like experience for the end-user.
“When you look at the market a couple of years out, people will be using all types of virtualization platforms and technologies. HP’s strategy is to be the best option that brings them all together,” he said.
For VMware users, HP entering the thin-client virtualization space could mean fewer headaches about hardware and software compatibility in the future. “HP is working very closely with VMware to make the client virtualization paradigm simple to use and deploy. We want to provide a leading experience for our customers, both from an end user perspective and an IT perspective,” Moctezuma said. HP can now provide the thin-client, the virtualization software via its partnerships with virtualization software companies, and the blade servers to run the system.
Security still a major concern
There is a need for businesses to have the ability to keep data secure in an increasingly mobile work force, and the ability to add end-users quickly when, for example, opening up a call center in a new country, Moctezuma said.
Security is a primary concern in health care and financial industries. “You get high-CPU consumption users in the financial trading industry that are running four 24-inch monitors off of one thin-client device, accessing a single blade workstation back at the data center,” he said. Moctezuma also said that other high-end users get better hardware utilization because of worldwide remote employees: now, a blade server can be accessed around the clock from different parts of the world via employees’ thin client devices. HP calls this the “follow the sun” model.