Virtual desktops

Virtual desktops

"The rubber still isn't hitting the road in terms of good case studies or compelling reasons why users are going to fall over themselves." - itX's Greg Newham

"The rubber still isn't hitting the road in terms of good case studies or compelling reasons why users are going to fall over themselves." - itX's Greg Newham

Creating a market

ICE Systems’ Gary Spooner asked whether there was anything else the vendors should be doing to help their resellers get opportunities on the table.

“We need to be able to present to our customers but their users seem to be the other firewall so we have to help customers put propositions to their users,” he said. “Customers want to stay in business and make more money so they need to drive economies of scale back through the organisation and users need to find some way to accept it.”

Citrix’s Rob Willis has done more than 120 demonstrations of virtual desktop technologies ranging from 5-6 people to more than 100 at a time and suggested the market was over the hump.

“We have a lot of activity within large customers looking at it for different reasons. I’m not surprise they’re not making decisions around 20,000 desktops in one go. To me they’re following a completely normal process,” he said. “I would agree that vendors are leading the communication around what it is and how it is but it isn’t simple so there’s a level of commitment needed.”

He claimed the response to recent partner training sessions had been incredible and that adoption was where it should be at this stage.

Anything being labelled as the ‘second wave of virtualisation’ is sure to create interest as the industry looks for its next big opportunity. itX’s Greg Newham said partners were keen to come onboard because there was so much hype around virtual desktop but that it had yet to translate into significant business.

“Certainly the information sessions we’ve run have always been well attended but the rubber still isn’t hitting the road in terms of good case studies or compelling reasons why users are going to fall over themselves,” he said. “We’re obviously keen to see this translate into real business but at the moment there’s a lot of noise without significant dollars being generated.

“You can’t have this much energy going into a market without producing anything but we’re still priming the pump at this stage.”

So where will the industry land large deployments that can be turned into case studies and drive broader adoption? Perhaps surprisingly, IBRS analyst Kevin McIsaac suggested banks could be the best bet if they can get it to work adequately.

“If you look at who has been talking about it in the media during the past 12-18 months, it has usually been the financial institutions,” he said. “It’s usually one individual that makes a big bet. The banks haven’t actually found a use for it beyond very specific examples and I think the strategy, if you want to be successful in this market, is to give up one the idea that this is a general technology to replace the desktop and chase those niches first.”

Datacom’s Mark Mackaway said he knew of at least three major organisations that were looking at ‘boots and all’ deployments but predicted they would not allow anything that does happen to be used as case study material.

ICE Systems’ Spooner asked why the major vendors didn’t sweeten the financial story on a couple of potential major contracts to give the market a kick start.

Citrix’s Willis said there were some in the works, including a major international insurance company, and one of the big four banks that was gradually growing its footprint.

“You start off having a conversation about virtual desktops and end up talking about eradicating standard SOEs. That’s really where you start getting transaction,” he said. “If you can’t have that conversation, you’ll die on the vine but those that can make the transition will be on a winner.

“In our large customers we’ve been able to make that transition away from what virtual desktop is today to what it will be in the future.”

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