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Linux, VDI, Vista, and the Economy: A Perfect Storm?

Today IBM and two business partners (Virtual Bridges and Canonical) announced general availability for what the company described as its "first Linux-based, 'Microsoft-free' virtual PC solution," claiming that it cuts desktop costs in half compared to a Microsoft-based environment. (Note: The cost estimates weren't provided by a third party but by IBM.) A statement says that those savings will come from license costs, desk-side PC support and help and desk services among other things.

IBM's got the wind at its back on this one and it's an ill wind called recession. But their timing couldn't be better given the Vista downdraft and the need for companies to trim budgets. The partner-based solution will be offered worldwide with the intent to replace Windows with Canonical/Ubuntu Linux and Microsoft Office with IBM's open standards-based (and somewhat elaborately named) Open Collaboration Client Solution (OCCS). OCCS includes e-mail, calendaring, word processing, spreadsheets and even unified communication wrapped in with Notes and Symphony.

What's interesting about this announcement is the congruence of two cost-sensitive value propositions: VDI and Linux. VDI (a.k.a. hosted desktop) is not quite in the same league as server virtualization with respect to ROI. Still, Tarkan Maner, the CEO of Wyse, on a recent visit to our offices told us that Wyse has customers who have gotten three or six month payback for thin clients deployments. But combining the positives of the economic benefits of VDI, thin clients and Linux with the negatives associated with Vista, dissatisfaction with Redmond's licensing model and a seriously hurting economy could very well be all the elements needed for a perfect storm. Stay tuned.

Posted by Tom Valovic on 12/04/2008 at 12:49 PM


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