In the past few days , I have been engaged with with several businesses regarding the topic of desktop virtualization. These businesses are coming out of pilots and proofs of concepts and are wondering where to begin the real deployment.
As with all of my blogging, the opinions are mine alone and do not represent my employer.
With that out of the way, let's begin the discussion. The first point to make, is why pilot and proof of concept without knowing where the scaling will occur? To test technology to demonstrate that the technology works as advertised is very "techie" but does not necessarily move the ball down the court in terms of saving a business dollars. Businesses are not in the business of testing technology for the sake of testing, they are in the buisness of testing relevant technology that may have implications for the comapny. To pilot and test without a business plan or a scaling strategy is merely seeing if the manufactures marketing literature is accurate. All kidding aside, I do understand the rationale to test in this manner, but the point I am making is that it is not unusual that the testing becomes the goal and objective, not the business rationale.
When the testing and piloting is completed there are two questions that already should be addressed- where the technology is to be deployed and at what cost/investment level. So lets look at each of these questions. The user segments that virtualization addresses should be based upon the business case. That business case should include the identification of the user segments, including how many and where the end user are located.
Examples of potential user segments include- off shore software development, end users who have desktops greater than 5 years, office workers with limited application suites, call centers, end user with minimal mobile requirements, etc. There is another set of thinking that suggests that instead of focusing on the targets that scales in the manner described-focus on the remote users or those users that are more costly for support. There is a case to be made for that of course, but my experience suggest that these end users have typcially demanded a higher unique service level and are more resistent to change than the previously mentioned business cases.
The second part of the virtualization proposition is indeed the business case. To me the business case is a physical document stating the "why's and wherefore's" in a quantiative manner. The virtualization business case is critical because it embraces a new technology that needs to be tighter in its construct so that the readers and reviewers do not see virtualization as having a greater risk. Assume that if virtualization is cost neutral, what are the benefits to move forward (there are many, and by the way, it is not cost neutral as you know).
Virtualization still seems to have a "mystyque" about it, one that only the technical can appreciate. Until such time that virtualization becomes just another one of several business alternatives for service delivery, embracing it may be harder than we would like it to be.
What are your thoughts?