With Gartner predicting that the desktop virtualisation market will continue to grow in 2010 and become one of the top 10 technologies, it is now safe to say that virtualisation has reached mainstream adoption. Desktop virtualisation allows users to access applications or complete desktops as a service in the enterprise or over the internet.

Whilst server virtualisation has now reached critical mass, if not commodity status, desktop and application virtualisation is experiencing a dramatic upsurge in customer demand. For those of you who haven’t embraced the concept of desktop or application virtualisation to date now is a good time to make a move.

Why? Put simply, the market has reached a level of maturity where the prices are affordable and attractive, not just for the large enterprise user but also for the SME market. It is becoming an intrinsic part of many companies infrastructure strategy and there is now a choice of vendors to partner with. So how can businesses benefit from adopting this technology?

Reduction of operating and maintenance costs

It is possible to dramatically cut energy costs, thanks to reduced deployment of software resources on desktops, and the potential to deploy low cost thin clients. The cost reductions alone make a compelling case for going down the desktop virtualisation route: for example, we’d estimate that the cost of managing a single desktop can be as much as £1,000 a year, taking into account maintenance, security, back-ups of data and updating applications.

With desktop virtualisation, these operations are centralised and this can help organisations to save 40-70% on their operational and management costs. Thin clients (diskless computer terminals with applications and desktops provided by the server) have an extended life cycle and far lower power consumption than their “fat” predecessors, which considerably reduces the carbon footprint of the desktop.

Improvement of service quality

Providing the ultimate ‘hot-desk’ environment, application and desktop virtualisation enables users to access their personal desktop applications and data from any endpoint or client device, via the desktop client or Internet.

With the same personal desktop interface presented, no matter where the user has logged on, it ensures that employees always have access to all the data required in a familiar and recognisable format. Users will also not have to wait for updates to the system as this is all centrally maintained with all the latest application upgrades, installed by the team that supervises the datacentre.

Simplified implementation of business recovery plans

With its built-in redundancy systems and very high availability, desktop virtualisation can eliminate the risks of interrupted services in the event of scheduled or unscheduled interruptions. Its reduced configuration time makes the IT administrator’s life easier, and delivers a more agile application delivery environment

Improved data security

By centralising application resources at the data centre, desktop virtualisation plays a part in providing secure access to and use of the company’s data. After all, it is much simpler to control access to data when it is stored in one single location than when it is distributed around all of the company’s sites. With all data stored in a remote central server, instead of the devices hard-drive, the business can be confident that their data and applications are secure and available 24/7.

Reduction of your carbon footprint

The virtualisation of applications and desktops can significantly reduce an organisations overall power consumption. The replacement of desktops by thin clients and the centralisation of servers, with optimised processor and memory use, play a major part in reducing the carbon footprint of the infrastructure. Thin clients consume ten times less power than a standard desktop and coupled with the reduction in cooling requirements make appositive impact on an organisations carbon reduction strategy.