Windows 7 catalyzing desktop virtualization

Falling cost of deploying virtual desktops, coupled with enterprise migration to Windows 7 is fueling interest in desktop virtualization, says VMware exec.
Written by Victoria Ho, Contributor

SINGAPORE--The decreasing cost of desktop virtualization deployment, coupled with the release of Windows 7, is helping to drive interest from enterprises in desktop virtualization, according to VMware.

In an interview with ZDNet Asia, Raghu Raghuram, vice president and general manager of VMware's server business unit, noted the cost of deploying virtual desktops has reached parity with purchasing new PCs, allowing more companies to seriously explore desktop virtualization.

In the past, server and storage costs on the backend would mean deployment of a virtual desktop cost between US$1,000 and US$1,200, while purchasing a new physical computer would only cost companies on average US$700, he explained.

Thanks to cheaper server and storage appliances as well as advances in virtualization management technology, the cost of deploying a virtual desktop has also come down to about US$700, "and could go even lower" should hardware costs further escalate downwards, he said.

At the same time, "everybody is thinking about their Windows 7 strategy", said Raghuram. Businesses that intend to migrate to Microsoft's new operating system would need to look at refreshing their PCs and engaging in extensive testing, and many are taking the opportunity to also pilot desktop virtualization during the disruption. Companies, he pointed out, feel that testing desktop virtualization and Windows 7 migration together would be more cost-effective.

According to Raghuram, VMware has already virtualized a million desktop seats, and the company is expecting momentum to continue growing. He did not deny, however, that desktop virtualization adoption has not yet caught up with server virtualization numbers. Prior reports claim worldwide server virtualization adoption at 5 percent--an oft-quoted statistic which appears to have stagnated since 2007.

Jim Lenox, VMware's general manager for Southeast Asia, pointed out that "things are less linear here in Asia", and the global desktop virtualization pattern trend may not necessarily reflect the trend in the region. "Desktop [virtualization] is coming above the horizon and people want it despite being late adopters to server virtualization," he said.

Concurring, Raghuram added that customer segments that are "way more excited about desktop virtualization than server virtualization" can be found in every vertical in Asian markets.

Desktop virtualization vendor NComputing said last year a large chunk of deployments would come from India, and that it would deploy over a million virtual desktops globally by the end of 2009.

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