IT Sees Solid Future for Endpoint Virtualization -- and Its ROI

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If you don't like taking Microsoft's word for it when it comes to surveys and studies that purport to show how much the market needs what Redmond is selling, you're not alone. It's hard to know how big a grain of salt to take along with some vendor-sponsored data. But the great thing about watching Microsoft is that it shows up in just about everyone else's surveys, as well.


That's the case with an interesting report from Symantec on an endpoint virtualization survey. The increasingly diversified Symantec is making its move into endpoint virtualization, coming in fourth after Microsoft (43 percent), VMware (19 percent) and Citrix (9 percent) when network admins answered the survey question, "Who is your organization's primary endpoint virtualization provider?" The company rated a respectable 8 percent.


But getting back to Microsoft. The preceding survey question sheds light on how deeply virtualization has penetrated the endpoint management budget: Seventy-six percent of respondents said "yes" when asked whether their organization had implemented the technology, including application virtualization, application streaming, desktop virtualization, OS streaming or similar tech.


Symantec's Endpoint Virtualization Unit Marketing Director Brad Rowland suggested to InfoWorld that the pressure on IT to cut costs, facilitate mobility and just downright keep coming up with tech projects with a solid ROI means that endpoint virtualization could well be "recession-proof." Strong words. I'm sure Microsoft will be happy to hear it.


In predicting what percentage of their 2009 budgets would be devoted to endpoint virtualization, 46 percent said it would fall between 1 percent and 25 percent of the budget, and 25 percent responded that the figure would fall between 26 percent and 50 percent of the budget.


Since the survey was directed toward network admins, who likely do not have budgetary control, those numbers may well be off, but the admins do have more insight than most into what makes this virtualization attractive for 2009. Top answers were simplified operating system and application delivery, lower IT costs, more securable data and mobility of user workspaces.


While the survey did not directly address attitudes towards Microsoft as a virtualization provider, those leading answers boil down to a recognition of savings, savings, savings and a plan to reap more of the same.