Trends 3 and 4By Samuel Greengard Print
Despite a brutal economy and tight budgets, organizations are making plans to deploy the technologies that are most likely to drive their business in 2010. Here are 10 business and technology trends that will help solidify those plans.
3 Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)
It may not have the appeal of server virtualization or the name cachet of cloud computing, but VDI is beginning to make inroads into the enterprise. Thirty percent of the executives participating in the Baseline survey expect deployment of VDI to increase at their companies.
Nevertheless, “VDI isn’t so much about immediate ROI because it requires a significant investment,” explains Chris Wolf, senior analyst at consulting firm Burton Group. “But it does create significant opportunities to boost connectivity, improve security and build better business continuity.”
Interest in VDI is growing rapidly. The technology virtualizes a desktop and stores it on a remote central server. By making desktops and data more uniform and available—across various platforms and devices in the enterprise—it’s possible to weather a natural or human disruption with minimal downtime or loss in productivity.
Wolf says that the technology surrounding VDI has matured dramatically. Networks and servers are better equipped to handle this technology. As a result, many organizations are able to realize immediate benefits, including a reduction in support and help-desk demands.
So far, many companies have experimented with VDI, but few have adopted it on a widespread basis, says Anil Desai, an independent consultant based in Austin, Texas. “One thing holding back many organizations is that VDI is often a more complex installation than server virtualization,” he notes. In addition, a standardized interface doesn’t always work well for organizations.
Nevertheless, Burton Group’s Wolf says that thin-client—and, in some cases, zero-client—configurations are here to stay, and 2010 may serve as a turning point. As organizations look to improve administration, manageability and security, VDI can play an important role, particularly until more advanced cloud architectures arrive over the next few years.
4 Mobility, Telecommuting and Virtual Meetings
After years of false starts and niche uses, technologies that untether the work force are racing forward at light speed. Wireless networks are becoming ubiquitous, devices are advancing rapidly, and an array of tools and technologies are making virtual meetings, collaboration and telecommuting a seamless proposition. Thirty-five percent of Baseline survey respondents said they’re expecting the use of these tools to increase in 2010.
BlackBerrys, iPhones, netbooks and a spate of other devices are reshaping the landscape. “Businesses are cutting costs and improving their productivity through mobility initiatives,” observes Dan Shey, mobile services practice director at ABI Research. However, at the same time, workers are demanding control over what devices they use and how they use them. “The consumerization of IT is in full swing,” adds Sean Ryan, mobile research analyst at IDC.
A bigger challenge for 2010 involves managing mobile devices and ensuring tight security, Ryan explains. Most organizations need to address these issues in a more comprehensive and holistic way—through better device administration technology and policies. In fact, telecommuting barriers have completely broken down due to the widespread and common use of mobile tools that work across platforms.
This connected and collaborative environment also promises to usher in better desktop video conferencing, along with more advanced telepresence capabilities. The widespread availability of high-bandwidth networks, along with more sophisticated and less-expensive technologies, makes it possible for organizations to work virtually and seamlessly. After years of hype, tools such as Skype, WebEx and Cisco TelePresence—along with widespread high-bandwidth connections—make cross-platform group connectivity and, in some cases, HD video an attractive and viable option.
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