Winning in the virtual desktop infrastructure space

As virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is set for enterprise growth in the Middle East, Salil Dighe, founder and CEO at Dubai-based Meta Byte Technologies talks about how solution providers can win in the VDI in the region.

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Winning in the virtual desktop infrastructure space Dighe says the virtual desktop infrastructure space has been a traditionally difficult market, especially in a price sensitive region like the Middle East.
By  Manda Banda Published  May 4, 2016

What is the state of the Middle East desktop virtualisation market?

The virtual desktop infrastructure space has been a traditionally difficult market, especially in a price sensitive region like the Middle East. Companies trying to deploy VDI purely for cost purposes often met with the failure of the project. However, hyper-converged vendors, like Pivot3, have allowed this cost to be reduced dramatically and as such, the market is beginning to burgeon. As hardware performance and user density also continues to improve, it is becoming more feasible to deploy even more advanced VDI solutuions.

What is the estimated size of the desktop virtualisation market in the region?

It is hard to predict market size or growth of desktop virtualisation for the region, but according to the research firm, RnRMarketResearch in its recent report, the analyst firm predicted the global VDI market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 27.35% during the period 2016 to 2020.

What are the main influences that are shaping desktop virtualisation adoption across the region?

The Middle East has always been a price sensitive market, but that aside, desktop security has always been a leading reason to examine VDI. Another major trend, is employee mobility and BYOD. Being able to access your desktop no matter wher you are and have a truly mobile office is a real business benefit.

What do regional and local resellers and systems integrators need to do, to secure their share of the market and make a compelling case with customers who are considering to virtualise their desktop infrastructure?

One of the most important things a partner can do is to be well vested in VDI and the associated ecosystem. Understanding the client requirements and what the VDI technology is capable of, leads to much more successful implementations and project deployments. I think that a key requirement of any VDI project is also to undertake it in a phased approach, and don't be over ambitious in the first phase. Choose a manageable user type, and ensure that project is successful before moving on to the more complicated and senior users.

What will drive desktop virtualisation growth in the coming years in the Middle East?

The advent and growth of hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI)technology, like Pivot3 offerings will aid in driving the growth of the VDI market in the Middle East. Because of the cost consolidation in the data centre that HCI affords, the total cost per desktop can be reduced from both a capital and operational expenditure point of view. Traditionally, the SAN was always the most expensive part of the solution. By using Pivot3 and its dynamic HCI technologies around storage performance and efficiency, the cost per desktop can be driven down compared to traditional hardware infrastructures.

How much of an influence are IT trends like cloud computing, BYOD, mobility, smart cities, analytics and big data on desktop virtualisations in the region?

All of these trends are driving the VDI market, as all of IT is interconnecting, particularly with the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. There are millions of devices, all generating data and that data has to be stored, analysed and managed. The data centres of today are being built with the applications and requirements of tomorrow in mind. HCI will form a huge part of that and interoperability between all things will become more common. Businesses also need to become more agile in this ever expanding global market and services deployed to market more quickly. A modular HCI allows for rapid and easy integration into existing data centres and seamlessly allows for those services to be deployed.

How should channel partners make their business case for desktop virtualisation before CIOs and C-level decision makers?

Partners should understand that a purely cost based VDI project is likely to be doomed to fail.  Understanding the business requirements and benefits of VDI and how it can aid the business in becoming more agile and drive profis and revenue through that agility and resilience, will have CIOs and CFOs and other C-level executives much more receptive to the idea of implementing a VDI project. Illustrating exactly what the business can achieve is more interesting to them than purely what the bottom line has to offer.

What skills are needed for solution providers to successfully play in the desktop virtualisation space?

A deep understanding of the entire VDI ecosystem is hugely important and working with a totally joined up solution that is repeatable.  VDI is not a simple project to sell and even more complex to deliver.  There are a lot of variables and methods for deployment. Understanding the customer business requirements and matching them to the technology capabilities are enormously important.

How big a challenge is the desktop virtualisation skills gap in the Middle East?

I'm not sure whether I am probably the best person to answer this, but from experience, the challenge is pretty massive and that's because channel stakeholders are not investing enough in skills development in general.

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