According to interim results from an ongoing study published by TheInfoPro Inc., a New York-based consulting firm, virtual desktops are quickly becoming part of IT strategic plans. By 2010, virtual desktops may likely be part of corporate rollouts. According to Bob Gill, an analyst at the firm, 42 enterprise IT managers out of 111 polled are ready to discuss virtual desktop deployments.
Although half said they didn't care today, this figure dropped to less than 20% when looking to 2010. Of the 42 IT shops responding, only about 25% to 30% say virtual desktop technology is critical today. By 2010, however, more than half believe the technology will be critical.
Gill said one reason IT shops are showing increased interest is due to advances in technology that can preserve the end-user experience, as well as improvements to the user interface and additional capabilities that support rich media. This year, several vendors are expected to release improvements to their products that offer more personalization features.
"We are at the inflection point where the technology is catching up with expectations," Gill said. "In the past there has been benefit in thin client and desktop virtualization, but users are interested in a certain level of connectivity."
Many IT professionals understand the benefits of desktop virtualization, but these haven't necessarily improved the end user's computing experience yet. "We can't take away a capability we've given to end users without a compelling reason," Gill said. "But if you can provide a similar service to what they are currently getting, they won't mind."
In terms of actual virtual desktop installations, more than 80% of those responding said that just 5% of their desktops are virtualized. By 2010, more than 20% of respondents believe that more than half of their clients will be virtualized.
Today, many of those clients are in industries such as healthcare or finance, where regulatory and compliance rules allow IT managers to mandate the use of thin clients. As the technology improves, end users will be able to receive personalized virtual desktops, and they won't necessarily mind the move because they may not even realize it has happened.