Coming of age
Desktop virtualisation gaining ground, but it's taking a while
Blogs | 02 May 2012 :
A survey published by Citrix this week appears to suggest desktop virtualisation could be gaining some traction at last. Not before time, you might think. Desktop virtualisation has been hyped as one of the next big things for quite a while now, so if it's starting to pick up that's got to be good news.
According to the survey, which was commissioned by Citrix distributor Data Solutions, 28% of Irish companies are making the move to desktop virtualisation. At just over a quarter, those numbers aren't too bad. They would appear to back up Data Solutions' own experience in the market. Michael O'Hara, managing director is pretty bullish about the prospects for desktop virtualisation going forward on the back of a 38% increase in Citrix XenDesktop business in 2011.
"Throughout the second half of 2011 we saw a major uptake in desktop virtualisation, particularly in the government and corporate sectors," he notes. "Four times more deals were completed in this time, across all sectors, when compared to the first half of the year, and this trend has continued into 2012."
He also believes that with many Irish organisations still in the process of migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7 (allied to the forthcoming release of Windows 8), the desktop virtualisation market is proving to be "exceptionally strong this year".
So let's go back to the survey again. Of the 28% (or 153 companies) interested in desktop virtualisation, 16% reported they were looking at an immediate project and another 46% had a project planned for 2012. On the face of it, that sounds pretty impressive, but the numbers we're talking about are pretty low. That 16%, for instance, equates to around 25 companies out of the original survey. And the 46% figure bandied around is still only equivalent to 70 companies out of the total sample.
So, in the broader scheme of things, those numbers are looking quite small. That may say more about the Irish market than the take up of desktop virtualisation. This is a little market and it may well be that the numbers are likely to be small as a result, but the thing about desktop virtualisation is that it seems to depend on who you talk to as to just how well or not they think it is being adopted.
For example, back in February, Andrew Miller, head of sales and marketing at Unity Technology Solutions told Irish Computer the company was seeing significant growth in desktop virtualisation, but this month James Finglas, managing director at MJ Flood Technology suggested it hadn't been as widely adopted as people might have thought it would be from the hype, even if there were projects out there.
To some extent, they could both be right. I suppose it all depends on whether you think 28% is a strong figure or a low one. The fact that desktop virtualisation has been the next coming wave for around two to three years may colour how you perceive the success of its adoption rate. On its own, 28% of respondents confirming they are in the process of deploying or planning desktop virtualisation projects might sound impressive if it was in the first year or two of the hype cycle around the technology but after three years or so, it might sound somewhat tame to others.
And the fact is, when you break it down to 25 companies out of a sample of 546 actually implementing desktop virtualisation projects, the figure doesn't seem all that impressive, especially when you present it as a percentage and the number comes in at just under 4.6%. True, when you add that figure to the 70 companies with a project planned for 2012 (note that word "planned" and remember all planning can be subject to change), you get a much more healthy figure of 19%.
Personally, I think desktop virtualisation projects will continue to grow but I'm far from convinced the market has reached anything like a tipping point yet and I don't think I'm alone in thinking it seems to be taking a long time to get there.