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Could 2014 Be The Year Of Mobile Virtualization?

A Contributed Article by Anand Srinivasan, Independent IT Consultant

In October this year, industry expert Brian Madden conducted a survey that looked at the desktop virtualization trends across various organizations. One question that Brian asked the respondents was to name the features and parameters that influenced their decision making. Interestingly, the leading responses were "app virtualization" and "iPad/iPhone/Android/Mobile client support". This nugget of information is an important indicator of how important mobile virtualization is to the overall growth of the industry.

Virtualization on the mobile is regarded as the next big thing. As the adoption of smartphones and tablets have proliferated over the past 3-4 years, the need to translate the success of desktop virtualization on to the mobile platform has seen a rise too.  One of the major reasons is security. Today, a huge chunk of security attacks happen on the Windows desktops because they are the most ubiquitous platform. As the ownership of Android and iPhone grows, we will begin to see a surge in the amount of security breaches on these mobile OS platforms as well. Virtualization will help keep secure data away from the reach of any such hacker. Besides, mobile virtualization also helps in consolidating the number of mobile devices owned by a user since these users can now keep their corporate and personal identity separate using a single virtualization-enabled device.

Although there is a growing demand and awareness of mobile virtualization, the technology itself is far from becoming mainstream. According to a study conducted by iGR, mobile virtualization would start maturing by 2014 and by 2016, it would have permeated the entire mobile Operator infrastructure. This will go beyond mobile app virtualization to virtualization of mobile access and the evolved packet core.

We are already moving towards establishing a mature platform for virtualization on the mobile front. Late last month, Nokia announced their virtualization strategy for the future. According to the details released by the company, Nokia would be partnering with South Korean telecom company, SK Telecom to build on a ‘Network functions virtualization' system that will enable telecom operators to move away from the current method of operating networks on expensive hardware equipment and instead rely on an alternate cloud based infrastructure. Nokia is not the only company bullish on mobile virtualization. Recently, Japanese company NEC announced their plans to commence sale of commercial virtual EPC to telecom carriers. Besides NFV, mobile app virtualization is another growing area as a number of market leaders including VMWare and Citrix have announced their plans to target this market.

At the moment, mobile virtualization is a technology aimed at technology enterprises. However, with increased sophistication, this technology should spread across small businesses and consumers as well. For example, today's shoppers have already taken their offline purchasing habits to the internet by comparing prices online across various stores. To increase operational efficiency, point-of-sale virtualization is now becoming more common.

Besides, there are a number of growing use cases. Mobile virtualization could spur the growth of the BYOD concept that encourages employees to bring their own devices to work. This is possible since employees can use virtualization to securely switch between alternate platforms for personal and work purposes. By consolidating the hardware, it is now possible to produce mobile phones at a lower cost. For more advanced users, a virtualized mobile system can also help in optimizing energy consumption, beta test applications on multiple platforms using a single device, testing software on legacy mobile systems, etc.

Do you think 2014 could be the year of mobile virtualization? Tell us in the comments.

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About the Author

Anand Srinivasan is an independent IT consultant with over 7 years of experience. He is based out of Bangalore, India where he advises enterprises and SMBs on their cloud and technology adoption strategy. You may reach out to him at anand.srinivasan@gorumors.com

Published Monday, December 30, 2013 6:35 AM by David Marshall
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Comments
Could 2014 Be The Year Of Mobile Virtualization? | Matrix - (Author's Link) - January 15, 2014 2:31 PM
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