Users looking to move to desktop virtualisation should be wary of thinking that it's a panacea of all their desktop problems. That's according to Lionel Lamy, IDC's research director for software and services who warned that companies often had unrealistic expectations of what moving to the technology would do for their business.
Many analyst companies have spoken about the rise in the take-up in desktop virtualisation, many commentators have spoken about 2010 being the year of desktop virtualisation and a survey from Citrix earlier this month, found that more than half of UK are either using or trialling desktop virtualisation.
Lamy, speaking at an IDC conference on desktop virtualisation in London, said that there were several elements of an organisation's infrastructure that could have an impact on the cost-effectiveness of a desktop virtualisation rollout. User organisations needed to take into account elements such as the cost of acquisition of the hardware – a commitment to capex – as well as the cost of hardware and software deployment and maintenance; the cost of managing of multiple applications – dealing with conflicts between programs – and the cost of disaster recovery.
And the differences between the various types of desktop virtualisation shouldn't be brushed aside warned Lamy. He said that companies often adopted a “one size fits all” approach to the technology – one that wasn't always appropriate. “There are different types of desktop virtualisation, ranging from server-based computing, which would be suitable for simple applications or for task workers, VDI for knowledge workers and consolidated clients, blade PCs, suitable for power users. There's also another category of client hosted virtualisation for mobile workers, something that's increasingly in demand,” he said.
It was important to note, said Lamy, that there were plenty of advantages going down the desktop virtualisation route, in terms of manageability, flexibility and control over security, it's just that organisations had to be careful to cost the rollout correctly and opt for the right type of virtualisation.
Lamy added that even if all the technological issues could be surmounted and the rollout proceeded smoothly, there was still the question of company politics to deal with. “Never underestimate the resistance to organisational change,” he said.