Follow the Money to Virtual Desktops


Virtual desktops may soon be too cheap and easily deployed to resist, particularly as cost-cutting takes a firm hold of data centers around the world.


The latest research from IDC indicates that the savings from not having to purchase, provision, maintain and support full-blown PCs for every user is likely to be substantial in the coming years. The company's latest report "Virtualizing the Desktop Part 2: Client-Hosted Virtualization Leadership Grid," indicates that 2009 will be the proof-of-concept year for the technology with large-scale deployments in 2010.


Leading developers such as VMware are already claiming to have hit some breakthroughs on a few of the sticker elements of virtual desktop deployment. This week, the company launched the View 3 initiative, aimed at fostering the mass dissemination of virtual desktops across numerous user groups. The company has essentially junked the single-instance DV platforms of the past with a hypervisor-based solution that uses a single base image to clone multiple desktops that can still be custom-tweaked by users.


Meanwhile, IBM wants to show that it can provide a DV platform without help from Microsoft. The company has teamed up with Canonical and Virtual Bridge to provide a Linux-based system that the company says will cost half as much as a comparable Windows solution. The system bundles IBM's Open Collaboration Client Solution with Canonical's Ubuntu Linux and VB's virtual desktop software.


But if you're looking for rapid deployment, probably the quickest today is the Pano device from a company called Nebulas Solutions Group. The company has developed a 12-by-12-inch box that sits on your desk and provides direct server access for a mouse, keyboard, display, speakers and peripherals. There's no memory, OS, drivers or moving parts and consumes only 3 percent of the power of a normal desktop. The company claims a 70 percent TCO reduction.


Necessity is the mother of invention, and tough economic times breed cost-effective solutions. Desktop virtualization's energy-conscious numbers simply will be too great to ignore in the coming year.