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Office in a Box, Classroom in a Box

F.Y. TENG | May 27, 2011
NComputing and desktop virtualisation ROI.

SINGAPORE, MAY 27, 2011—In early May 2011, Raj Dhingra, CEO of NComputing, purportedly “the fastest growing desktop virtualisation company in the world with over 20 million daily users in 140 countries”, granted Computerworld Singapore an interview, during which he shared his perspectives on the direction of virtualisation deployment in corporate circles in the past few years, readings of future virtualisation development trends, and strategies for growing his business in the next couple years. Below is the expurgated transcript of the interview.

Talk about how enterprises have moved on from investing primarily in server virtualisation to spending more on desktop virtualisation today.
Over the past few years, businesses invested in making their data centres more efficient through server consolidation. IT departments realised that using five percent capacity of a server costs the same to maintain as a server operating at 85 percent utilisation. This lack of efficiency needed to be addressed or risked straining the IT department’s ability to meet the needs of the business—to deliver enterprise-class applications and services within an aggressive timeframe.

In short, businesses realised that they suffered from server sprawl and needed an antidote, which IT vendors provided—virtualisation server management, VSM. In fact, the market demand for virtualisation infrastructure has become so great that IDC says the market for virtual server management software will grow more than 21 percent—to US$2.3 billion—by 2013.

As enterprises began to achieve mature VSM solutions, they also expanded the organisational focus to include desktop PCs and desktop virtualisation. IT departments now see an opportunity to better address business needs—to deliver inexpensive PC compute power to more employees than ever, while simultaneously driving down typical IT department operational expenses, such as desktop PC hardware, maintenance and support costs.

This is our business—end-to-end desktop virtualisation.

How then has your business evolved through the years?
Within five years, NComputing forged a formidable market position by disrupting the legacy PC deployment and economic model. Moreover, our ability to break the barriers of complexity and economics accelerated and expanded PC adoption by creating new use cases for virtual desktop deployments as well as making previously unviable deployments viable.

Our early leadership came in the education sector where our technology passed the most rigorous of tests. Our education deployments range from a small solar powered computer lab based on our desktop virtualisation technology in Kenya, to Macedonia where we partnered with the Ministry of Education to provide 200,000 seats to deliver the vision of “a desktop for every child.”

We have driven deployment of more than 2.6 million virtual desktop seats in the enterprise, SMB [small and medium business], education and government customer segments. We are now one of the top three global providers, by shipment, of virtual desktops—according to IDC 2011 data for worldwide enterprise client device shipments.

How important is Asia to your business?
IDC 2010 ranks NComputing number 1 in Asia. We have worked hard to gain this leadership and will work even harder to expand on it. It is a very important region for NComputing.

The diversity of markets plays well for us. From mature, to emerging to developing: they all present important growth opportunities. Our technology solutions are well suited for mature markets where a major need is to manage massive demand for desktop computing while grappling with escalating PC support, maintenance and energy costs. In emerging markets where legacy PC environments are not the challenge, we are well placed to deliver state of the art desktop virtualisation solutions for tasks and productivity workers. And in developing markets, where one PC would previously have had to be shared by many, our desktop virtualisation solutions and devices create multi-user environments and access to desktop computing, which were previously unviable.

What should the world expect in virtualisation in the near to middle term?
Over the last 12 months, NComputing has seen increasing deployments in the enterprise in certain verticals and branch office deployments. In these scenarios, customers are deploying NComputing in conjunction with Citrix, Microsoft and VMware virtualisation solutions.

Gartner recently projected that hosted virtual desktops will reach 74 million users by 2014, which represents 15 percent of the business desktop market. I believe this is the tip of the iceberg. This number does not fully reflect the potential of business deployments because it only considers deployments for user groups of 250 or more as economically viable for virtualised desktops. However, NComputing has removed the historic technical and economic deployment barriers so that small deployments, which previously were not economically viable, are now viable.

We have a massive installed base of micro deployments to prove this case. Our ability to break the barriers of complexity and economics is already creating new use cases for virtual desktop deployments as well as making previously unviable deployments viable. The size of the enterprise growth opportunity is massive and will require accelerated industry collaboration and technology integration. This is an area we will be taking a lead in by deepening our strategic partnerships with companies such as Microsoft, VMware and Citrix.

Talk about your global growth strategy from hereon.
We are uniquely positioned to expand and accelerate the desktop virtualisation market, whether for PC replacement or delivering desktop computing to users who previously did not have access to PCs. We will accomplish this market growth objective by deepening and expanding our technology integration and go-to-market partnerships with key industry leaders such as Citrix, Microsoft and VMware, and by partnering IT resellers throughout the region [i.e. Asia]. Our channel will be key to expanding our growth in Asia as we roll out our vertical market expansion strategy.

We are introducing a range of vertical market solutions designed to deliver desktop computing access and productivity at a fraction of the cost of traditional PC deployments. The first solutions, Office In A Box<> and Classroom In A Box <>, will expand use cases and deployments of desktop virtualisation in the SMB and education markets. For our customers the benefits are vast and include reduced up-front PC acquisition costs by 75 percent, 75 percent low maintenance and support costs, and 90 percent less energy costs. In tandem with our channel strategy, the roll out of these vertical market solutions will accelerate the adoption of virtual desktops and drive NComputing’s leadership role in Asia.


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