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Economic recession driving desktop replacements?

It appears that the economic recession is driving some companies to look for desktop replacements. Sure, desktop prices have come down significantly, and plenty of people argue it would take years for a large enterprise to phase out desktops, if it chooses to at all, but the cost of desktop management is just not worth it to some folks.

I’m seeing large companies giving out stipends to employees, telling them to buy whatever endpoint they want. Some of these companies also want to use virtualization technology on the endpoint to isolate corporate software from personal software. If the client device breaks down due to personal software, the user is responsible for getting it fixed, not IT.

A move to desktop replacements like iPhones and lightweight laptops is already driving down the need for traditional desktops. How often do you hear people saying they’ll get to something when they get back in the office these days? Most already carry around their device of choice in this world of road warriors.

Chris Brady, CIO of Dealer Services out of Carmel, Ind., thinks traditional networks and PCs will be undergoing a transformation largely due to virtualization. “The cost of keeping all the desktops and laptops connected and running and virus-free requires a substantial amount of resources. … Do you really need to spend that much money to provide access to an application?”

There has to be a better way to efficiently address desktop management, and she sees that in client-side hypervisor technology, a desktop replacement approach in which the applications that users need reside on the end device of choice and do not have to continuously hit a network server. Such technology is being developed by VMware and Citrix, but it is still first gen.

“I think it’s still too bleeding edge, but we are definitely looking at such technology to replace our current PC model,” Brady said.

She also couldn’t justify the cost of a new PBX switch and moved the company’s 450 employees to VoIP.

Desktops? PBXs? Or are there applications that are just not worth keeping in-house any longer? What do you think is on the hit list as people try to gain efficiencies and cut costs during this economic recession? Will cost-cutting measures lead to the demise of certain technologies?

Let us know what might be on the way out at your organization, [email protected].