Desktone Peels Back the Covers on Its DaaS Launch

Google "DaaS" and the first listing you'll get is "Doug Anthony All Stars" in wikipedia. In case you think you're momentarily blanking out, don't worry: it's an Australian musical comedy group. Then a little further down the page you can spot the "Tangawarra DAAS protection society". And please don't ask me what that is because I'm clueless. The DaaS I'm talking about is "desktop as a service".

There are many types of virtualization out there. It can apply to hardware, OS, network, I/O, storage, desktop and individual applications. Often when the term is used these days, the first thing many people think of is server virtualization and consolidation. While this is the low-hanging fruit for IT shops that have already made the leap, an important longer-term trend is desktop virtualization.

Desktop virtualization, which means delivering a desktop environment, including the OS and apps, from a server, has some good momentum. It's still early days of course but Gartner just came out with a report projecting that PC virtualization will ramp up from less than 5 million last year to 660 million by 2011. On the supply side, the industry took notice a few months ago when VMware acquired Thinstall and Foedus assets to strengthen their position in desktop.

Application virtualization focuses on specific siloed apps. But with desktop virtualization, full desktop capability can run off a centralized server using either thin clients or PCs. The benefits center on manageability, security, and cost savings. But hold that thought for a minute and then take the notion of desktop virtualization off prem by using a service provider such as IBM or AT&T and things get interesting really fast. This is Desktop-As-A-Service or DaaS.

An intriguing startup called Desktone is playing in this space and just launched its DVI product called the Virtual-D Platform. Editor Keith Ward, Peter Varhol and I recently spoke with Desktone CEO Harry Ruda. These guys have management chops. Previously, Ruda was CEO of Softricity which, you may recall, was acquired by Microsoft in 2006. And COO Paul Gaffney was the CIO of Staples. Citrix has an investment stake along with Softbank Capital. Merrill Lynch is a customer and both Verizon and IBM are strategic partners.

Desktone claims to be the only company that has a complete DaaS solution. The company argues that subscription is the way to go because of cost and complexity, pointing out that service providers already have the infrastructure to deliver DaaS. With the hosted model, they believe that desktop TCO can be reduced by $300-$800 per desktop per year. Keep an eye on these guys, look for an interesting potential tie-in with unified communications (especially if a Verizon or an AT&T is involved), and check out an upcoming profile we'll be doing in the next issue. Comments always welcome.

Posted by Tom Valovic on 04/21/2008 at 12:49 PM0 comments

Virtualization With Anchovies

Recently the domain name was sold at auction for $2.6 million. An enterprising gent named Chris Clark bought the domain name in the early 90's for $20. That means an appreciation of...well never mind. But I'll tell you a secret: that could have been me.

Think I'm kidding? In the early 90's I was an editor at Telecommunications magazine. One Sunday afternoon, Brian Kahin over at Harvard sent me an e-mail saying that the Internet was about to be commercialized. That's nice, I thought while yawning. But that set up a flurry of emails with Vint Cerf who was on our editorial advisory board. After a few days of digesting Vint's and Brian's comments, I realized I had tiger by the tail and possbily one of the biggest scoops of the decade.

The rest is history of sorts. We were indeed the first publication to break the story that there was going to be this Entity Called The Internet that everyone and their pizza delivery person would end up using (wow, awesome, holy cow etc). The New York Times picked it up 3 months after we broke the news. Looking back, it was one of those professional experiences you just never forget.

So what does all this have to do with pizza? Better yet, what does it have to do with virtualization? The point here is I got to watch this trend from the git-go and had the inside track on watching the Internet and its markets develop from ground zero. Long story short, if I wasn't off chasing the next trend, I might have ended up buying up domain names or exploring some other angle. Alas, the lure of the next emerging tech trend was just too great.

After the magazine, I joined IDC where I was an analyst for nine years specializing in -- what else? -- emerging markets. Trends are to analysts what petri dishes are to microbiologists and code is to software developers. After a doing this for a while you get a somewhat intuitive sense about how new markets form and the complex inter-relationships between vendor push, end user pull, and of course the hype curve that rides between them.

When I look at virtualization in its current incarnation, I see a technology that's been around for a while and poised to make the jump from incubation to operational reality. Stated in terms of the Gartner hype curve (or whatever they're calling it these days), virtualization seems to be positioned somewhere between the "Technology Trigger" and the "Peak of Inflated Expectations" demarcs. (Tell me if you agree or disagree). But what really intrigues me about this technology is how it impacts and informs so many of the macro-level trends associated with IT transformation and next-generation data centers: Green IT, recentralization of computing resources, SaaS and DaaS (Desktops as a Service), and the automation of IT workflows just to mention a few. I'll be talking about how virtualization affects all of these issues in future blog entries. In the meantime, let me know which of them is on your radar screen.

Posted by Tom Valovic on 04/14/2008 at 12:49 PM1 comments

Introducing Valovic on Virtualization

Hi everyone,

It's my first week on the job and I'm truly excited to be joining Virtualization Review as Executive Editor, working to help fulfill the strong vision that Keith has for this publication. I came to VR from market researcher IDC, where I was involved, among other things, in looking at the business models and trajectories of emerging markets and the impact of IT hardware and software development on selected vertical markets.

One thing that has struck me about virtualization is the level of excitement around this new technology in all its manifestations. I've been in the industry for a while and have seen many technologies come and go. But when measured against this perspective, the buzz around virtualization is pretty phenomenal. This is a technology and a market that has legs. I believe that tracking the trendlines that will drive this market through the twists and turns to come will be crucial to understanding its future direction. These trends will determine not only which vendors will have the best price/performance on an individual basis but also --- more importantly -- the business models and go-to-market strategies models that will shake out for applying virtualization across the spectrum of enterprise systems and solutions that exist today.

To help our rapidly growing readership get a better handle on these trends and developments, Keith has asked me to guide the development of our news and products section section, Upfront. This section has a plethora of information, including:

  • News
  • New product announcements
  • Product reviews
  • Statistical information

And more.

In this context, I'm very open to ideas from you our readers about the news items and key issues that you're most interested hearing about. So please feel free to shoot me an email at [email protected]. If you work for a P.R. firm that handles companies in the virtualization space, please put me on your contact list and let me know what those companies are doing.

Posted by Tom Valovic on 04/11/2008 at 12:49 PM0 comments

Citrix Takes Aim at VMworld

VMworld is currently the virtualization industry’s vendor and customer magnet and must-attend show. Although vendor-sponsored, VMworld encourages competitors to attend and, on the basis, has become the industry’s defacto main event. But in the increasingly competitive world of virtualization, that may be changing.

In a recent blog, Simon Crosby, high-profile Citrix CTO and spokesman, explains how and why the company has thrown down the proverbial gauntlet and decided to go after VMware’s longstanding franchise. Basically, Synergy – to be held in Las Vegas on May 4 -- will include Virtualization Congress 2009, an independent virtualization conference run by The event is also aligned with Network World Live!

It’s a strategically smart and interesting move. Crosby describes it as the “industry's first vendor neutral virtualization conference” and writes:

Alessandro's goals for the Virtualization Congress are to make it the industry's premier showcase for virtualization technology, products and business strategy.   If you're under the illusion that VMware's VMworld serves that purpose today, you probably also failed to notice that at VMworld even gold sponsors (like Citrix and Microsoft) are only offered one opportunity to present at the conference, and that 99% of the sessions are dedicated to VMware's technology and products. 

Indeed at VMworld in Las Vegas in 2008 I found that my session was somehow miraculously scheduled to occur in the last hour of the last day in the meeting room furthest from the elevators and escalators, and with barely enough seating.  The Microsoft folks complained of similar treatment. 

He then goes on to say that Citrix will take a different tack and will, with deliberate intent, have no influence over the Virtualization Congress program. Pull up a lawn chair, folks, this one’s going to be interesting to watch.

Posted by Tom Valovic on 01/05/2008 at 12:49 PM0 comments