Is it a case of jumping the gun, or do some vendors have inside knowledge that leads them to believe the mass adoption of virtual desktops is just around the corner?
No doubt there will be a strong push for virtual desktop infrastructure in the coming year by the major platform providers. VMware, Microsoft and Citrix are all gearing up for major VDI efforts in the coming months. And judging by the number of third-party management solutions hitting the channel, hopes are high that users will finally warm to the concept after close to two decades of thin-client preparation.
Most of these management stacks are coming in the form of services. Akamai Technologies, for one, has compiled an Internet-based management service out of its IP Application Accelerator system, with the aim of fostering VDI platforms without requiring users to build out expensive new networks. The company is particularly targeting Citrix users through a reseller agreement with Entisys Solutions, which has bundled the Akamai system under a reference architecture for the Virtual Application and Desktop Infrastructure platforms.
LiquidWare Labs is also shoring up its position in the market with a new alliance program centered on its Stratusphere platform. The idea is to gather VDI assessment, diagnostic and migration services under a common platform to provide users, particularly hosted service providers, the ability to manage full VDI lifecycles in high-margin, repeatable environments. The company has already signed up Perot Systems, soon to be part of Dell.
Over in Europe, Desktone has partnered with CloudGroup BV and service provider SCC to create a cloud-based Desktop as a Service (DaaS) program to deliver VDI using the Desktone Virtual-D platform. The company says it can cut the cost of VDI some 35 percent compared to deploying an infrastructure in house, primarily due to the enhanced scalability of the platform's multi-tenancy and multi-data center capabilities.
Hosted services are all the rage these days, built primarily on cheaper access to top business intelligence platforms like CRM and MDM. But putting the desktop on the cloud is something entirely different.
Virtual desktops were already seeing a fair amount of blowback from users concerned about performance, personalization and security, so it would seem to me that they would be doubly concerned now that you're talking about taking their desktop image out of the data center entirely and hosting it on a server miles away.
Nonetheless, research organizations predict the number of virtual desktops will reach into the millions in a few short years. If that happens, those who got in on the ground floor will have something to crow about.