Desktop Virtualization and the Death of the PC
It may simply be a question of "when" not "if" a range of mobile computing devices displaces the PC.
It's a little-known fact that only a small percentage of the automated teller machines (ATM) in use today run the IBM OS/2 operating system. As you might well imagine, finding people to support these systems and dispatching them to support all these standalone systems can be both problematic and expensive.
To solve that problem, the IT folks at Diebold, the leading manufacturer of ATMs, have been looking for a way to eliminate these and other issues using a more modern approach to managing a new generation of ATM machines. As it turns out, the solution to this problem that Diebold hit upon is virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).
According to Mark Kropf, head of emerging technologies for Diebold, the company is deploying a new generation of zero-client ATMs that access VMware View software running on a Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS). Kropf says that they can run 100 virtual machines per blade in the Cisco UCS system, which allows Diebold to centralize the management of all those ATM systems in the data center.
Diebold is giving its customers the option of deploying the software on Cisco UCS systems in their data centers or have Diebold manage the software on their behalf on Cisco UCS servers managed by Diebold.
Beyond centralizing the management of the ATMs, a zero-client approach also means there is no customer data resident on the ATM. So if the ATM is stolen or broken into, there is no customer data at risk.
There are a whole host of embedded systems similar to ATMs that are all running archaic software. But it's only with the advent of VDI that it has become viable to replace those systems with an IT architecture that can be more centrally managed more easily. The implications of using VDI in embedded systems is nothing short of profound in terms of not only replacing many of these systems, but also enabling the development of a new generation of embedded system applications that now will be much more cost effective to manage.