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Tablets And Desktop Virtualization

Last month, I discussed how solid state storage's biggest area for growth
may have nothing to do with enterprise storage, it may be the emerging
tablet/slate market, based largely on the success of the Apple iPad. In
that entry, I promised to cover what I think is going to be an even
bigger winner if tablet adoption continues: desktop virtualization.

The sales numbers on the iPad have been surprising. What amazes me is how many people claim to travel with it as their only system. There seems to be a cannibalization of the laptop market occurring, we could actually see a return to the use of a real desktop while at work and a tablet type device while moving around the office or traveling around the country. There is a gap, though. Right now, a tablet can't do everything that a desktop can do, and users are going to want to be able to access their desktop from their tablet. Basically, this becomes a device-driven catalyst to desktop virtualization.

As we will discuss in our upcoming webinar addressing the storage challenges caused by desktop virtualization, this is a different model than the current, more popular form of desktop virtualization, the shift-worker model. This is where the same desktop is used by several different people during the course of a 24-hour day. In this environment, there is a set number of users at any given time. In the device driven model, the users can appear on your network at any moment from their tablet device, when they need the power of a full desktop system.

It is also different from the more mobile model where virtualization is done on the laptop and a golden corporate environment is run as a single VM executed on it. This approach eases the IT management burden and the processing needs of the data center since the processor on the laptop is doing the work. On a tablet, there is not enough horsepower or software to run a virtual machine.

While the tablet software feature set is often good enough for basic tasks, at some point these users are going to want the comfort and capabilities of a fully capable computer. If the users only occasionally need to have a fully-functional desktop environment, then you don't want to have to deploy and manage a desktop, a laptop and a tablet, but you do need to give them desktop capabilities. Desktop virtualization could be the perfect answer.

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