by Laurianne McLaughlin

Virtualization of Desktop PCs on the Rise

Nov 27, 20072 mins

Virtualization of desktop PCs is still a young idea, but one with a bright future. And Global 2000 enterprises are leading the way, says new Forrester study.

One appeal of virtualizing desktop PCs (having the PC run from a virtual desktop image in a back room, or running the OS, applications and data on top of an installed host OS) is clear, says a new Forrester Research survey of IT leaders. Despite years of work by vendors and IT departments, those PCs still take too much time and money to maintain. For some enterprises, security benefits arise from desktop virtualization, as well. But are many CIOs actually treading into the waters of desktop virtualization? Are they even considering dipping their toes?

According to a mid-2007 Forrester survey of 565 IT leaders in North America and Europe, almost half (49 percent) say they are not interested in client virtualization technologies or are not aware of them.

Some 18 percent say they’ve implemented client virtualization technologies already, while eight percent plan to do so within 12 months. The remaining 24 percent call themselves “interested.”

What’s driving the interest in alternatives to traditional PCs? That’s no surprise: 52 percent say costs, 49 percent say security and 46 percent say manageability (patches, etc.), according to Forrester’s survey.

“Global 2,000 enterprises are on the leading edge of alternative PC technology adoption,” writes Forrester Senior Analyst Natalie Lambert in the report. She says that these companies have the most motivation to walk away from traditional PCs: “large enterprises are in the most pain when it comes to managing and securing the PC environment—from both internal and external workers—and are therefore more willing to be early adopters in emerging technologies,” Lambert writes.