Enterprise IT Watch Blog

May 3 2010   12:56PM GMT

Too many flavors might slow desktop virtualization

Michael Morisy Michael Morisy Profile: Michael Morisy

Too many desktop virtualization platform options, deployment choices and licensing paths might stimmying desktop virtualization. As CIO’s Kevin Fogarty reports:

Desktop virtualization now comes in so many varieties that even vendors confuse terms referring to the flavors.

Market leader Citrix Systems, now working hard to expand virtual desktops into roles that the company hasn’t traditionally filled, rolled out a version of its Xen Desktop solution last fall that allowed customers to choose any of six major delivery methods.

Competitor VMware is close behind, followed by Microsoft and a host of add-on vendors and open-source integrators offering similar approaches, bolstered from the other end of the client-hardware spectrum by thin- or zero-client virtualization products such as Pano Logic or NComputing.

Add to that the potential to stream apps to end users from external SaaS providers, access all or part of a virtual desktop from the cloud via platform-as-a-service, nestle a secure VM within an otherwise insecure personally owned iPad, smartphone or other gadget—and the choice gets very complicated, according to Chris Wolf, infrastructure and virtualization analyst at The Burton Group.

And while the rush into virtualized desktop and device OS’s isn’t fully on yet (some of Fogarty’s aforementioned combinations aren’t even available or projected to be available), desktop virtualization was gathering its fair share of buzz at Interop, the somewhat stodgy IT conference geared towards networking professionals I headed out to last week. The conference even had a whole track day devoted to desktop virtualization. Just sample the topic list and you can tell this is a serious technology:

  • Methodology for evaluating your user requirements and determining which technologies and combined approaches are best suited for your users’ needs
  • A deeper understanding of the various approaches and architectures of the different desktop virtualization and application virtualization and streaming technologies
  • An independent look at the top desktop and application virtualization solutions
Gartner projects 50 million global end users on virtualized desktops by 2013, up from 1.5 million last year, and a $65 billion market. If VMware, Citrix and the rest of the pack are actually going to hit those targets, though, they need to refine their answers to the questions posed at Interop: What do enterprises need to jump into desktop virtualization? Who are the leaders and who are the hucksters? And what benefit, if any, will desktop virtualization actually provide the enterprise, particularly as it looks like projected cost savings might be harder to come by then expected.

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