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Complimentary Advisory Report

Desktop in the Cloud: Capitalizing on the Key Business Drivers

| November 3, 2010 | Business Network and IT Services
| Analyst: Dustin Kehoe, Principal Analyst, Business Network
  and IT Services

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Current Analysis defines desktop virtualization (DV) as the ability to provision ‘any or all’ components tied in with the traditional desktop estate in a cloud-like environment. In the old world, hardware, applications, operating systems, data, and user settings were tightly bound, shipped and sold as one unit. In the new world, any or all of these components can be broken off and provisioned independently. Despite the level of comfort many IT managers have with server virtualization and increasingly with storage virtualization, the level of adoption for desktop virtualization is relatively low. Only around 10% of IT managers report deploying DV in some form.

Why is this? The business case is difficult. If the customer expectation of DV is solely on cost-savings through a like for like replacement moving from physical to virtual environments, the business case does not stack up. Replacing a physical desktop with a virtual desktop infrastructure can increase costs by a factor of 1.5 to 2. There are additional costs with new hardware, network resources and capacity. When vendors tell customers that VDI, for example, is cheaper, it creates the wrong expectation which ultimately undermines the sales process.

So why is desktop virtualization considered to have so much potential in the cloud services market? DV also ties in with many other high priority IT topics. This includes a migration to Windows 7, increasing security, supporting ‘location independence’ without losing control, advancing a green IT agenda and supporting employees by ‘roles.’ Some companies are looking at these technologies as an enabler for transformation in the workplace. This advisory considers the drivers for DV, barriers to adoption and provides tactical advice for enterprises (and service providers) considering the journey to desktops in the cloud. Research is based on interviews with end-users, vendors and IT suppliers.

For assessments of individual IT suppliers, please refer to the Product Intelligence Reports for Virtual Desktop Solutions and/or Workspace Management.


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