Desktop Virtualization: Ready for Prime Time or Still Hype?

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

After hearing the promises of thin-client computing for so many years now, CIOs for the most part still believe that desktop virtualization promises more than it can deliver. But new research does show that if you are a financial services CIO, you are probably more likely to have a road map for this emerging technology that can offer simplified administration and management, cost savings, and energy savings.

Is desktop virtualization a promising new technology, or is it still a bunch of hype?

Well, if you're a CIO, chances are you don’t believe that desktop virtualization technology can deliver on everything it promises yet. That’s according to a new survey commissioned by Fujitsu that shows that 49 percent of private-sector CIOs say desktop virtualization technologies don’t deliver on what they promise.

The research shows that that view is most strongly held by CIOs at companies with between 1,001 and 3,000 desktops—with 60 percent of those saying that desktop virtualization is over-promised.

By contrast, only 38 percent of CIOs at larger enterprises with 3,000 or more desktops agree that desktop virtualization is over-promised.

CIOs in the manufacturing vertical are the most skeptical, with 64 percent saying virtualization is hyped.

And while vendors and solution providers are have been pointing out the big benefits associated with moving to a centralized infrastructure, including simplified administration, cost savings and reduced energy consumption, 76 percent of CIOs say they have no clear road map or strategy for taking advantage of the benefits of desktop virtualization, or say it’s a "work in progress," according to the research.

CIOs in the financial services sector look to be leading the pack in terms of potential implementation of desktop virtualization, with 44 percent of them having a road map and strategy in place.

"What's clear from the research is that the IT industry is doing its usual job of over-hyping the benefits of a technology without showing the real and tangible benefits it can bring," says Ian Bradbury, solution design director at Fujitsu UK and Ireland, in a statement.  

"The industry has been talking about desktop virtualization in some form for over 15 years—from server-based computing to thin-client and blade PCs," he says. "Our belief is that desktop virtualization is coming of age, with the next three years being the time CIOs will really challenge the way they manage and deliver their desktop environment."

Fujitsu released the research two months after it launched a new desktop managed service for the private sector. Vanson Bourne conducted the research for Fujitsu in October, 2009, interviewing 100 CIOs with 1,000 or more desktop seats in their enterprises.

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com