I read an article “Desktop Virtualization: Ready for Prime Time or Still Hype?” by Jessica Davis. I have been following the desktop virtualization market since the mid-90s with Citrix Metaframe. I saw many very un-happy desktop virtualization customers in the late 90s and early 2000s and fortunately we did not implement those solutions.
Here is an excerpt from Steve Ballmer at the Paine Webber Technology Conference back in 1999:
“You know, when you get guys like Scott McNealy and Larry Ellison and Lou Gerstner talking about the end of the PC era, … Fully 60 percent of the personal computers that are sold around the world are used by knowledge workers. They’re not just used for manufacturing or order entry or blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. They’re used by people like the people in this room, to send e-mail, to take notes, to do presentations, to do financial analysis, and that is best done today with an intelligent device. Maybe with some of the intelligence, more split client and server, but we can’t take tools away from knowledge workers. There are just so many more things knowledge workers want to do. “
So, in ten years has this changed?
A little has changed as we are now constantly connected to the internet. We can do more with a terminal today and a terminal is easier to manage and secure. However, it will be a long time before I give up my PC and this article supports this showing 74% of CIOs do not have a plan for desktop virtualization. The one industry that does have a plan for desktop virtualization is the financial sector and this makes sense as security is extremely important.
Clearly there are situations where it makes sense to save money by implementing a desktop virtualization solution. When it is time to do a desktop refresh IT leaders will want to investigate both a PC and a virtualized desktop option. Each situation will be different and needs to be analyzed on a case by case basis. Every year desktop virtualization will make more sense than in the past year but will not completely replace the PC – Not yet anyway.