The virtual desktop market has gone through its own hype curve in the last few years but now seems to be at a stage where the technology is delivering and the opportunities for the channel are potentially lucrative.
Back in 2006 VDI emerged onto the scene and over the next couple of years people started to take notice of a technology that promised a different cost structure, efficiency and security. But it has perhaps taken until now for the reality to match the hype.
But some of those early adopters got their fingers burnt and were put off and some of the channel have also been cautious about engaging with VDI. But now it is happening and there seems to be a real opportunity for partners.
At a recent MicroScope VDI roundtable a collection of vendors involved in the market expressed their views on the current landscape, concluding that there were serious opportunities for partners.
"I think the whole industry has suffered from being told by analysts that 'this is the year of VDI’. The important thing is not so much VDI but that desktop transformation is necessary. There are lots of ways to transform a desktop but essentially it has to be based on the needs of the end-user. Any realistic desktop transformation project in a company is going to consist of a series of solutions depending on use cases," said Garry Owen, senior product marketing manager EUC, VMware EMEA.
"Once the, “This is the Year of the Virtual Desktop” monkey was off VDI's back and the technology matured, we could all have a sensible conversation about it. There are some use-cases that VDI doesn't work for but there are others where it is perfectly suited so don’t be afraid to use it. It’s a solution like any other, requiring professional services expertise with skilled people going in, understanding the customer’s needs and applying a solution that is appropriate," he added.
The view that resellers needed to have VDI in their kit bag to talk about with those customers that were reviewing their desktop options was seen as crucial by other vendors at the event.
"Everyone was looking at it originally as the golden answer to everything but it is about suitability and providing the right solution for the right people. For some people it is a desktop, for some a laptop and for some it’s VDI. That's the real challenge that everyone has had to get their head around and people have learnt in the last couple of years,' said Andy Goddard, Head of Offerings EUC portfolio, Fujitsu UK & I.
David Angwin from Dell Cloud Client Computing said that when it came to the mid-market the people who were going to have the conversations with customers were going to be channel partners.
"They need to be equipped to have that conversation that asks the customer what they are going to do and to be able to say where VDI will work and where they can leave things on the PCs," he said.
Owen added that VDI would be a positive addition to a reseller's portfolio because it would position them not only for the future but give them a chance to cover all the possible options a customer might want to explore.
"For the channel, that should be a great thing because it involves them moving away from just shifting lots of low margin commodity ‘tin’. It says that the tin in a transformed desktop solution becomes almost incidental: it’s the knowledge and intellectual property that you can put into that solution that gives you the opportunity to earn a much greater return," he said.