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Client Virtualization Technologies Show Positive ROI

With more to do with fewer resources, IT is examining client virtualization to help it control its client infrastructure and keep users happy. Recently released results of a straw poll conducted by CDW show a snapshot of how the technology is being used in IT data centers, what IT managers expect (and what benefits they actually receive), and what roadblocks keep them from maximizing these benefits.

The bottom line: A majority of enterprises are considering or implementing some form of client virtualization, but nearly all are bumping into “challenges” with implementation.

Cost reduction is driving the move to client virtualization according to 61 percent of the over 200 respondents from businesses with more than 100 employees, 57 percent of whom were IT managers; 22 percent identified themselves as IT directors or supervisors. Forty percent noted “easier software distribution, management process” as the key motivator, 38 percent said they wanted to increase IT productivity, and 37 percent said they were employing client virtualization to improve IT support.

The good news is that for those enterprises tracking ROI, the results are positive. For example, 62 percent of all respondents expect the technology to improve their organization’s bottom line, and those who have implemented and track the benefits, reduce their annual IT budget by roughly 20 percent (including energy, hardware, software, and staff time savings). Specifically, 61 percent of organizations working with presentation virtualization -- which enables (typically remote) workers to access applications with a Web portal -- and measuring ROI saved an average of 24 percent of their annual IT budget. That percent is also enjoyed by organizations working with application virtualization (which allows applications to be packaged into a single executable so they run isolated and thus conflict-free). Savings for respondents tracking desktop virtualization ROI said their savings averaged 21 percent.

That’s not enough for many IT organizations, apparently. “Despite these facts, just 28 percent of respondents say that client virtualization is a top IT priority for their business,” CDW points out. Another trouble spot: nearly three-quarters (74 percent) acknowledge that their IT managers understand the benefits, but only 58 percent say those managers understand how to implement the technology. Worse, only a third (35 percent) of organizations is prepared (that is, have an adequate level of trained staff).

Of those planning to implement client virtualization, 32 percent say they’ll virtualize some applications for a select group of users or departments; 31 percent will virtualize some applications for all users. Only 15 percent are daring to virtualize all apps for selected users or departments, and 8 percent are planning to virtualize all apps for all users.

Those are near-term plans; 91 percent of respondents considering or implementing client virtualization will do so within the next 12 to 24 months. Over a third (37 percent) have already conducted their inventory analysis of client devices; 44 percent will do so shortly.

Nearly all respondents who implemented (or are considering) client virtualization hit stumbling blocks. For example, 46 percent say they have had trouble “ensuring the technology will work on an individual level,” and 41 percent had trouble estimating the project’s ROI. Of the 19 respondents who said they were not considering or implementing client virtualization, the leading impediment is that “some of our business applications are not compatible with client virtualization.”

The report can be downloaded here (short registration is required).

-- James E. Powell
Editorial Director, ESJ

Posted on 01/10/2011 at 11:53 AM