Desktop virtualization approaching tipping point

Cost reduction, security, manageability and simplifying the migration to Windows 7 are driving organizations to adopt an aggressive deployment approach when it comes to desktop and application virtualization, say the results of a study conducted by Forrester Consulting.

Over half of the 546 organizations surveyed ranked desktop and application virtualization as a critical or major initiative over the next 12 to 18 months. Furthermore, deployment levels are predicted to grow from 27% to 46%, taking the number of virtual desktops in organizations from hundreds, to tens of thousands in the next two years.

“While only 13% of respondents said they had completed their enterprise roll-out of Windows 7, organizations across all industries and geographies are prioritizing their investments in desktop virtualization,” commented Ettienne Reinecke, Dimension Data’s CTO. “In addition, early adopters are now also emerging from regions other than the heavily regulated industries in North America and Western Europe.

“Overall, 40% of organizations view investing in, or implementing desktop and application virtualization as a high priority, while 12% believe this a critical priority over the next 12 to 18 months. However, organizations looking at desktop virtualization as a silver bullet to address desktop challenges must first understand their business drivers, workforce demands and the state of their application ecosystems before defining their next-generation desktop roadmap”

“Typically, an organization will start by piloting desktop or application virtualization to a small group of users and then scale out deployments,” says Reinecke. “The most successful deployments we’ve seen are those designed with workforce segmentation in mind, where the end result is a combination of traditional and virtual desktops that suits the end user’s requirements.”

Organizations are quickly realizing the need to transform their desktop infrastructure. The focus on Windows 7 upgrades, the maturity of desktop and application virtualization, coupled with business pressure to embrace the consumerization of IT and bring-your-own-device policies, has created the perfect storm for organizations to modernize their desktop infrastructure.

However, Reinecke warns organizations against pursuing desktop virtualization purely as a cost reduction tactic.

“There’s a general misconception that a desktop virtualization initiative will translate into immediate cost savings. This is underscored by the fact that 60% of the research participants cited cost saving as one of the main drivers for desktop virtualization projects,” he points out. “Desktop virtualization requires significant investment in the supporting network infrastructure, servers, storage upgrade and software licensing fees to ensure that the solution can effectively meet business and end user demands.”


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