Virtualizing the User

Blog archive

Mid-2010: What's Happened So Far, What's Next?

Yes, it is already that time again. We are already full blown in the middle of 2010 and before you know it, we will be counting down to the New Year. It's always a good idea to do a midyear check/reflection just to make sure the years don't blend together. In the technology field, this is very common since the market seems to change as fast as the predictions change for our economic rebound. Here are a few comments on some up and coming technologies and what I have been seeing in the market.

Hosted Virtual Desktops
It was widely predicted by many that 2010 would be the proof year for hosted virtual desktops (HVD). Gartner predicted that there will be around 66 million HVDs by 2014, and we are already starting to see this number become more of a reality.

So far this year we are seeing the number of HVD pilots rise significantly and we are finally beginning to see the non-persistent pool model being used in customer accounts. As predicted, the ROI for persistent HVD's simply does not exist for the majority of use cases, the early adopters [typically] in the finance industry are now looking towards maximizing their ROI by adopting non-persistent pools. 

The HVD pilots that I am seeing at this point in 2010 are ignoring the persistent pool option completely and are focusing on non-persistent with some form of user virtualization solution.

Client Hypervisors
Another hot topic predicted for 2010 was Type 1 client hypervisors, which were to be one of the main events (in terms of innovative product areas). At Synergy earlier this year, Citrix released a technology preview of their XenClient product line that will allow desktops to run in a virtual machine installed directly on a user's laptop, rather than in a server inside the data center.  VMware's client hypervisor has been delayed unfortunately, with delivery looking unlikely during the second half of 2010.

Other vendors in this space, such as Neocleus and Virtual Computer are already enjoying some limited success, although their success is likely to improve as and when Citrix and VMware enter the market space with generally available products and begin to drive noise. 

User Installed Applications
UIA is certain to be a controversial issue in the remainder of 2010, as we are beginning to see more and more heated debates around the need for users to be able to install their own applications into their corporate desktop.  These debates continue to become more interesting as UIA becomes a reality and shows no signs of slowing down.

We will start to see more real use cases emerge in organizations soon and in fact are already beginning to see the early signs of this already. Just this week, during a short tour of customers in the New York area, we were asked several times about browser helper objects and how these were a current issue area for the non-persistent HVD solution being planned. As a consequence of such customer conversations, I am seeing that organizations are turning to UIA solutions to deliver to users in an effort to make use of HVD.

Others continue to believe that allowing users to have some control over their environment is extremely bad news. The key to finding the balance is making sure UIA is achieved in a controlled and safe manner with full auditing of all user installed applications. The remainder of 2010 is going to be quite eye opening as UIA technologies are introduced to the market. By the end of the year we should have a better idea of how it's being used and its affect on HVDs.

One thing missing from this year so far is vendors delivering their applications to customers as pre-packaged application virtualization packages. This will become more visible in the remainder of 2010. Microsoft already delivers Office 2010 in this model using their own application virtualization technology, App-V. It seems obvious that if any ISV were to lead the way and deliver a new product in App-V, you would hope that it would be Microsoft.  There are still challenges because of the fact that App-V is only available to MDOP customers, so this may affect adoption by ISVs.  This being said, I am aware of a couple of others that are about to deliver their technology as an App-V package and I look forward to seeing how their offerings compare.  Let's just sit back and watch this space.

Please let me know if there is anything that was missed that you think has made a major impact so far in 2010. I am interested in your feedback.

Posted by Simon Rust on 08/06/2010 at 12:49 PM


Subscribe on YouTube