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Virtualization and the Greenlight Effect

What do virtualization executives think about 2009?  A Series Exclusive.

Contributed by Tarkan Maner, Wyse CEO 

Virtualization and the Greenlight Effect

For anyone that's ever met me, you know that I tend to be enthusiastic -- about business, about life, about just about everything.  So please don't hold that against me as I talk about how excited I am about the prospects for the desktop virtualization market in 2009.

There's no question that the global economy is in serious trouble.  And yes, businesses and financial institutions are facing cutbacks, layoffs and an uncertain future.  The faltering U.S. economy is reverberating throughout global markets in ways we've never seen before.  All the while, credit markets are trying to return to some semblance of normalcy while under intense scrutiny and oversight.

So why the rosy outlook?  Two reasons:  saving money is a survival imperative and saving the environment is good business.  In fact, in the past year I've seen these two business drivers go hand in hand in so many deployments that I've come to refer to this as "the Greenlight Effect."

The Greenlight Effect is simple.  It's the proposition that technology purchases that might not otherwise be approved in one business climate (an economic downturn such as this, for example), will be 'greenlighted' when the cost of energy becomes prohibitive or the motivation to reduce carbon emissions becomes more pronounced.

Regardless of the daily fluctuations of the price of oil, the cost of energy is increasing and will continue to increase.  As it does, more and more businesses will look to be more prudent and more efficient in their energy consumption.  They will turn down the lights, they will use more discretion with heating and cooling of offices, and they will look to their IT departments to find ways to reduce energy consumption.  In 2009, the Greenlight Effect will benefit those technology companies that can help businesses save money and cut energy costs.  Desktop virtualization meets both of these objectives and for this reason, I feel strongly that desktop virtualization is poised to have a very big year.

In the State of Louisiana, for example, Governor Bobby Jindal released an executive order called "Green Government" that is designed to make state government more environmentally friendly.  When the Louisiana Department of Revenue needed to upgrade their technology infrastructure, a 75% reduction in energy savings associated with virtual desktops was the primary driver in their deployment of Wyse virtual desktops.  Streamlined support costs and the fact that the department was extending the lifecycle of their desktop devices from today's range of 4 years to upwards of 9 or 10 years was important, but the economic decision was driven by energy savings.  This is the Greenlight Effect.

Thin clients and virtual clients (clients = desktop and mobile) have always made sense from the perspective of IT time savings, lower TCO, less administration, better security and more.  As companies such as Wyse and others continue to innovate in the areas of virtualization software and hardware, the desktop virtualization market makes too much sense not to grow.  In any other economic market, the Greenlight Effect wouldn't be necessary.  Because of the climate crisis and resultant high energy costs, however, and precisely because the economic situation has forced businesses to cut costs anywhere and everywhere, the Greenlight Effect may be the only way some businesses are able to justify IT capital expenditures.

I've recently met with companies who are facing some extraordinarily difficult decisions.  And yes, severe cost-cutting mandates are going to lead to layoffs.  It is our hope, however, that virtual desktops can mitigate these layoffs by effectively laying off a PC.  I would not want to be in the PC business in this day and age.  PCs are turning into the SUVs of the computing infrastructure; bulky, unwieldy, high maintenance energy hogs.  A PC requires a healthcare plan because PCs call in sick and their lifecycle isn't very long.  A PC requires HR because PCs require tremendous amounts of maintenance.  The 'salary' of a PC is significantly higher than its capital cost, and far higher than that associated with a virtual desktop device.  What if the countless administration costs associated with PCs went away, and some of that savings helps a business keep its valuable employees? 

Wyse launched our Green initiative in 2007, called EarthSmart Computing.  We did so because IT was coming to grips with the fact that energy costs -- once a general company overhead cost -- was moving over to the IT budget.  These departments needed new categories of information, and new tools to measure computing energy consumption.  As IT departments around the world began to look closely at their energy usage, some very troubling trends revealed themselves.  Not the least of which is the fact that costs and demand were both increasing.

Now fast forward to December 2008.  Factor in rising energy costs, greater clarity around the impact of carbon emissions, and an economic climate where every business is looking closely at every expenditure and we now have an environment where CIOs are only approving expenditures that save money and save energy.  This is the essence of the Greenlight Effect, and why I am so bullish on desktop virtualization in 2009.

About Tarkan Maner

Mr. Maner was named President and CEO of Wyse Technology in February, 2007. He joined Wyse in May, 2005, as Chief Marketing Officer. He was most recently President, Worldwide Field Operations for Wyse, and led Wyse’s global sales, marketing, channels, business development and customer service organizations and programs. Prior to joining Wyse, Mr. Maner led marketing, product management, business development, and strategic business alliance initiatives at Computer Associates, where he was instrumental in developing the company's corporate vision, strategy, and brand. Earlier, at IBM, Mr. Maner led global product marketing initiatives for the company's Internet Security, Network Computing, and eCommerce divisions. Before this, he held senior product management and marketing roles in the eCommerce Software Group at Sterling Software and later, Sterling Commerce.

Mr. Maner graduated from Istanbul Technical University with a B.S. degree in Engineering Management, received his MBA degree from Midwestern State University, and attended the invitation-only Executive Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School. Mr. Maner is a sought-after speaker and commentator on current IT and business issues worldwide.

Published Friday, December 12, 2008 5:56 AM by David Marshall
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