2011 Prediction: Dell KACE

By Marty Kacin (Profile)
Tuesday, December 14th 2010

Virtualization of servers has been one of the great success stories in IT because it has shown to be cost effective, secure and reliable.  However, server virtualization pales in comparison to the potential of desktop virtualization.  The benefits of managing user endpoints from a central location changes the IT landscape as now systems can be compliant, secure, and cost effective while still providing the service levels and customization that end users expect. A consequence of virtualizing computing we will begin to see applications and user data going their separate ways.  Gone will be the days of managing user settings, applications and operating systems as a single entity – each of these elements will be managed separately.  This decoupling simplifies management and the tasks of scaling, yet maintains end-user personalization all while reducing costs.  For 2011 I see virtualization of the entire compute stack accelerating and changing to meet the demands of users who want to have access to their data on whatever endpoint they have at the moment.

On the server side, we at KACE have seen rapid acceptance of the virtual version of our systems management appliances.  We expect about 25% of our shipments to be virtual which are installed on our customers’ infrastructure enabling them to be rapidly provisioned, reconfigured and moved to meet dynamic requirements of the organization. 

The migration to Win 7 from XP this year will further accelerate the adoption of virtualizing the desktop.  As more and more compute devices enter the work place from smart phones to pad type computers, the end users’ attachment to their traditional desktop PC is softening.  Because we can now provide the level of personalization, applications and settings to any compute device, users see the advantage of accessing their data to be more important than accessing their “computer”.  CIOs can take advantage of the change in operating systems to alter their users’ compute configurations while saving costs.  Users really just want access to their data at the point of need – on whatever computing endpoint they happen to be using at the time.  Providing secure, encrypted access to user and application data is what will enable the future of computing freedom.   

The notion of virtual disks is key to supporting end-user computing on any endpoint is now becoming a reality.  The advanced browsers on today’s smart phones and tablet computers combined with the increasing ubiquity to wireless access to networks means that they can easily support access to user data and virtualized applications from anywhere.  One example of this a prototype of virtual disk technology running in the KACE labs that is suitable for personal use. By applying appropriate policies around securing and accessing the data we allow users to access from any device. Now, if we assemble these individual virtual disks into an array of disks we create a matrix of disks that can become the foundation of a virtual disk network that extends this data access to the entire enterprise.  In 2011 I predict we will begin seeing the first of these virtual disk networks that take advantage of cloud based storage and peer-to-peer paradigms for efficiently distributing and replicating data over vast networks.