Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

Greater energy efficiency, centralized management savings, lower acquisition costs and a longer lifetime. When you put it that way, what’s not to like about desktop virtualization and thin clients?

But many companies have balked at the idea of what they see as some trimmed-down terminal model of computing. Users want their familiar PC desktop. Tell them they are getting anything less and they’re likely to start whining like a toddler. That’s why many think that VMware View 4 with its PC-over-IP experience promises to push desktop virtualization a little further in its infiltration of business clients everywhere.

“That last domino has fallen. That last customer objection has disappeared,” Donn Bullock, vice president of sales in the Open Systems Solutions Group of solution provider Mainline Information Systems, told me. “We have been waiting for that protocol improvement for years. We believe 2010 will truly become the year of the virtual desktop. Customers can’t tell the difference between the two.”

Once you’ve sold your customers on the benefits, however, are you going to recommend a forklift upgrade of all the client hardware they’ve already invested in? That’s not really necessary with transition strategies that can help companies move from PC client to thin client.

For example, thin-client giant Wyse is now offering software that can turn a PC into a thin client. And in 2009 Igel announced a $99 PC card that turned existing PC clients into thin clients. (The technology was used by Daimler Chrysler, the former owner of troubled U.S. automaker Chrysler Holdings, when it recently converted 1,000 of its Dell PCs into Linux thin clients.)

Bullock said while these thin clients can help customers move from a standard PC client to a desktop virtualization/thin-client environment, businesses should really consider this to be only a transitional strategy.

“That comes up with every conversation I have,” Bullock told me. “They say, ‘I still have two to three years on the PC lease. Can I use this device instead of buying a thin client?’”

And that’s a solution for some companies, he says, but points out that customers will not realize many of the benefits of thin-client computing during this phase, including the reduction in energy use and the longer lifetime. Plus the PC still has to be updated as a PC for security patches.

“Customers do use it as a transition strategy,” Bullock told me.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]