Major virtual desktop deployments still 12 months off - Gartner

Aussie companies highlight virtual desktops as a priority but are hindered by restricted budgets

Hosted virtual desktops (HVD) have high priority in large and mid-size companies in Australia, but few big deployments are expected in the next 12 months, according to Gartner.

In its latest Dataquest Insight report, the analyst firm said local companies are hindered by restricted budgets, with many organisations postponing or canceling deployments planned for 2009 due to the global financial crisis.

The economic impact on mid-size businesses has been particularly pronounced, Gartner said, though it expects more funds to be made available in 2010 in many sectors.

Despite the lack of funds, large enterprises report that having an HVD strategy is the second priority after software as a service (SaaS). Mid-size companies report having an HVD strategy as their first priority, followed by SaaS.

In terms of implementation, 28 per cent of large enterprises and 33 per cent of mid-size companies in Australia report that they have already implemented HVDs, Gartner said.

“Compared with the total cost of ownership (TCO) of traditional PC deployments, the TCO for an HVD can be 2 per cent to 10 per cent lower,” the report reads. “ A major proportion of TCO calculation is labor and downtime costs, and HVDs' lower TCO works well in a market in which salaries are high. Savings can be easily realized by having fewer IT personnel, as well as less downtime.”

IT outsourcing is also more mature in Australia, making it easier for deploying initiatives such as HVDs to reduce end-user support, according to the report.

Additionally, there are greater security and compliance requirements in Australia that need centralised and accountable management of data. Data centres are able to scale the capacity, which translates into more cost-effectiveness. The fast and high-availability server and network bandwidth also offers better user experience, according to the report.

“Therefore, it is not surprising that HVDs are rated highest to help reduce costs in mid-size companies and rated second (after SaaS) among large enterprises. In Australia, we believe that HVDs have an opportunity to move to a larger scale,” the report reads.

Gartner predicted that prime verticals for HVD deployments include financial services (excluding insurance), energy (oil and gas), transportation and wholesale.

“Although some verticals reduced their budgets in 2009, we expect they will release more funds for the adoption of HVD technology in 2010, after the economy recovers, because most of these verticals are pillar industries in Australia and require more central management capability and security,” the report reads.

“For instance, although respondents from the healthcare provider industry have said HVD projects are postponed or cancelled in 2009 due to the economic situation, it remains an important industry, and the Australian government has promised it increased budget support in fiscal 2009 and 2010.”

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