BriForum – where strategy meets reality?

Hi, I’m Chris Oldroyd, Senior Product Manager for AppSense.  I am charged with taking a new brand of technology into the market called User Installed Applications. This is a technology that AppSense haven’t yet publicly marketed but have been qualifying with our trusted customers

I recently attended my first BriForum event.  I found the event sessions very informative, not least because most were explaining the latest desktop strategies and technologies, and extolling the virtues of desktop virtualization, however they were someway off doing this in measurable terms.

Although most sponsors were vendors that have been in the market for some time, typically providing core or complimentary technology for traditional desktop or Terminal Services, there was also a presence from the start-up vendors that have hit the desktop virtualization market with gusto. These vendors are unlikely to be exhibiting at mainstream marketing events such as VMWorld or Citrix Synergy and so it was a fantastic opportunity to see what new alternative technology is entering the market space and make links with these vendors.  What did become clear is that this is a new and raw market and the overall delivery stack for an optimised low cost standardized desktop delivery architecture is still very much up for debate. Currently to achieve this would take a lot of moving parts and there appears to be a lot of choice, although it is not clear which of these components actually exist in any usable form, or at all.

I suppose this begs the question, what is a ‘low cost standardized desktop computing architecture’? Well, up until recently this could easily be argued as being Terminal Services.  However, because Terminal Services have a compelling use case for task workers only and would be too inflexible for knowledge and mobile/offline workers we can say that it is only for a subset.  The nirvana is to find a model that fits every use case and therefore what desktop virtualization is trying to solve is ‘low cost standardized desktop computing architecture FOR ALL’.

The message was clear, there is some fundamental core technology that needs to enter the market and mature, then when it does, desktop virtualization will take the market by storm.  But which market? There is obvious anxiety as to whether it has a compelling enough case to outshine Terminal Services, especially in the task worker use case which has a very good RoI. My belief is that Terminal Services market will continue to grow and the technology will continue to advance. I believe that the virtual desktop market will take the physical desktop market by storm, especially when each use case can be catered for. Among other aspects, the focus is on offline (client hypervisors), low cost (storage virtualization/image provisioning), real-time performance (connection protocol),and high degree of flexibility/personalization (User Environment Management). On this last point, AppSense specialise in User Environment Management, and AppSense User Installed Application technology was created specifically to enable the use cases for workers who require the ability to install their own personal productivity applications, especially in stateless, non-persistent architectures which will become de facto as desktop virtualization becomes low cost.

AppSense User Installed Application technology was demo’d at BriForum this year, so please take a look: http://www.brianmadden.com/blogs/videos/archive/2009/07/22/briforum-2009-demo-lab-appsense.aspx

Looking forward to next year’s event, and I am sure there will be new stories to tell in this space.

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