December 28, 2010, 12:29 PM — In mid-2009, as VMware and Microsoftfought as often about marketing gags as about technology, the assumption of both companies, most IT analysts and journalists and almost every IT vendor with anything to do with virtualization or the desktop, was that 2010 would be the year virtual desktops transformed traditional IT into something completely new.
It was a familiar position for most; they'd been waiting for the Year of Desktop Virtualization for three to five years, based on surveys that showed enthusiasm among senior IT executives for the potential benefits.
Not many of them ended up pulling the trigger, so the year of the virtual desktop would get put off another year.
This year was really supposed to be the one.
"Every IT executive I see talks about those 500 million desktops in the enterprise; they hate them.," according to Tod Nielsen, VMware's chief operating officer, speaking at VMworld in August of last year."They're hard to provision, hard to manage, hard to secure, and if they have to go touch every one of them to accomplish something, it's a big problem."
Only 13 percent of companies surveyed by architecture consultant Merv Adrian planned to install virtual desktops in 2009; that number jumped to 31 percent in 2010.
Gartner predicted at mid-year that hosted virtual desktops -- desktops in the cloud -- would grow ten-fold, from 500,000 in 2009 to 49 million in 2013.
Market leader Citrix marked $90 million in sales for its XenDesktop business during the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared to $180 million for the entire previous year.
New year, new "PC"