IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

How to Leverage VDI Growth

Virtual desktops allow managed service providers to separate themselves from the pack while capitalizing on double-digit revenue growth. By Jed Ayres

DESKTOP VIRTUALIZATION DEPLOYMENTS show no signs of slowing down. In fact, a recent MarketsandMarkets research report suggests that spending on such solutions will continue to rise at an estimated 11.4 percent compound annual growth rate over the next four years, from $7.83 billion in 2017 to $13.45 billion by 2022. Desktop as a service, which includes virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and remote desktop services, is expected to drive a significant amount of that spending.

That presents MSPs with a remarkable opportunity. The question is whether they’re ready, willing, and able to leverage it. Here are a few things channel professionals need to consider if they’re serious about capturing a greater share of this dynamic market.

Thin clients are better (and sexier) than ever. Gone are the days when thin clients were simple and mundane commodities. Today’s models are powerful, profitable tools that enable MSPs to help their customers control costs while making the transition to true digital businesses.

Technical innovations have also made that job a lot easier for MSPs and even more affordable for the organizations they support. With converter software, for example, managed service providers can transform their customers’ existing hardware assets into thin clients, reducing capital expenditures and eliminating inconveniences for all involved.

Think endpoint management. In the virtual desktop world—which encompasses many different types of devices—endpoint management software is a critical part of the equation for managed service providers and their customers. It essentially becomes the control center, managing every process in desktop and application virtualization. 

As customers expand their operations, they will require endpoint management solutions offering granular policy-driven administration functionality that enhances scalability, is easy to use, and reduces demand on IT resources.

Don’t forget about the OS. A software-driven thin client is only as good—and powerful—as its operating system. MSPs must continually evaluate the operating systems that power the thin clients in their portfolios and update them accordingly. Since most businesses function in highly diverse device and application environments, they’ll likely need an OS that supports a wide range of virtualization use cases. Security and manageability should be top priorities too.

Offer security as part of the solution. Managed service providers and their customers understand that endpoints represent significant security risks. Even the simplest of activities, such as opening email, can end up introducing malware into company networks and other business-critical systems. When MSPs propose thin-client deployments, then, they should emphasize VDI’s inherent security benefits to build customer confidence. Advanced authentication controls are also available from more than a dozen security vendors for MSPs who wish to further enhance a thin-client solution’s endpoint protection capabilities.

Most businesses appreciate the financial and time savings, as well as the ROI, that thin-client solutions deliver. However, those are not the sole reasons for transforming to a digital business environment. VDI also allows organizations to gain firmer control over IT assets, boost employee retention rates, and increase competitive advantage.

MSPs need to embrace and promote those multifaceted benefits when speaking with their customers. By keeping employees productive, flexible, and secure regardless of their location, software-driven thin clients and endpoint management applications may be the answer to problems business owners never mentioned or realized they had.

Indeed, the many benefits of desktop virtualization and VDI help explain why they’ve experienced double-digit growth over the past five years. Now is the perfect time for MSPs to get more involved and capture a greater allotment of that market share.

JED AYRES is CEO of IGEL North America, a provider of endpoint management software, software-defined thin clients, and thin- and zero-client solutions.

 Opening image: Pixabay


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