2011 Prediction: AppSense

Darron Antill (Profile)
Tuesday, January 4th 2011

Predictions from analysts and leading executives seem to be concurrent – 2011 will be the year of cloud computing. There is some justification for this, as the promised benefits of cloud computing are hard for any enterprise IT department to ignore – greater ROI, flexibility and agility. However, as cloud computing moves from the lab to actual deployments in 2011, enterprises will realize that certain solutions for technologies like desktop virtualization and application virtualization will need to be transferred to the cloud in order to take full advantage of their potential.

For example, the user will remain crucial in any enterprise IT environment whether it is physical, virtual or in the cloud, because without support from end users deployments will most likely fail or have significant time and efficiency delays. Similar to the hype cycle and lead-up to the mass deployments of desktop virtualization we are seeing today, it will be important for users to experience a personal and consistent working environment, making User Virtualization (known as UV) solutions a necessity.

The cloud’s increasing popularity doesn’t mean that desktop virtualization adoption will be on the decline. In fact, a Gartner report published this month states that mainstream adoption of hosted virtual desktops (HVDs) is expected to take place from 2012 through 2014, with 70 million users by 2014, or 15 percent of the total professional desktop market. I also predict that this widespread adoption of desktop virtualization will occur in tandem with the widespread adoption of Windows 7.

2010 served as a proof year not only for the cloud, but also for Windows 7. This operating system showed its true value over Vista and gave enterprises the confidence they needed to implement a migration plan.  A poll taken in October 2010 found that more than 10 percent of enterprises had already completed migration and most others would begin the process in what is left of 2010 or in 2011. We have already seen Windows 7 have significant traction as a driver for UV; however, it looks as if the best is yet to come. The OS seems to be a catalyst that unites previously segregated areas of the enterprise—desktop and/or server virtualization and the physical desktop—and Windows 7 also is particularly potent when combined with application virtualization. User Virtualization pulls these areas together to enable complete user acceptance across platform and delivery method.

Additionally, 2011 will be a huge year for mobility, and many analysts are predicting that by 2013 mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common web access device worldwide. When I say mobility, I’m referring to everything from smartphones to iPads. As Apple continues to maintain its dominant status, other players like RIM and relative newcomers like Android will fight to be the devices of choice for businesses around the globe. And, the popularity of iPads and new devices like HP Slates will continue to rise as well, making users even more capable of being connected and working from anywhere, anytime.

With this increase in accessing devices, enterprise IT departments will need to start providing support for these employee-preferred devices. Already there are a number of use cases where iPads have become an additional “desktop” of choice for enterprises with a large number of remote workers. IT will face the challenge of maintaining control over these mobile devices, whether they are owned by the employee or the company. User Virtualization will be key for IT strategy in 2011, as IT will need a solution that allows them to deliver corporate applications and operating systems to each accessing device but also ensures they maintain control of the desktop and mitigate security risks while not hindering the user experience.