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The insurance industry is another emerging area for iPad and virtualization deployments. But interest isn't limited to verticals -- companies in every business sector are looking to leverage the combination of tablets and virtualization as a more cost effective, secure way of enabling their mobile workers.
"The bottom line is that tablets can now very easily access corporate resources and applications. We're getting e-mails every day from customers asking about how to get their applications and desktops on the iPad," Hogan said.
Of course, the iPad no longer has the tablet market to itself. New entrants like Samsung's Galaxy Tab, HP's forthcoming webOS powered TouchPad and a veritable army of Android tablets give companies plenty of devices to choose from. And vendors like Citrix and Wyse are keeping pace with the new arrivals by releasing software that brings access to corporate desktops and applications to these tablets.
The opportunity for solution providers lies in expanding virtualization implementations to get more applications and desktops functioning for their customers. Ensuring the smooth delivery of enterprise class applications to the iPad and other tablets through virtualization is an area that's still relatively untapped, according to solution providers.
Weiss said companies see the benefits of virtualization and iPads but have concerns about whether they can offer adequate functionality for legacy applications. Client side software for the iPad and other non-Windows devices lacks maturity at this stage of the game, Weiss said, making it tough for IT to keep up with what features will and won’t work.
All of this is tricky because what works well for a Windows or thin-client device may be a challenge when running the application from a tablet. "Many tablets run operating systems that aren't familiar to internal IT, and the required client software for these devices isn't nearly as mature as their Windows device counterparts," Weiss said.
Application usability, security and performance can also be challenges when implementing a virtual desktop environment with tablets, Weiss added. "Client-side software is still missing key features such as session encryption, straightforward pointing device functionality and bandwidth optimization," he said.
User location is another variable that must be taken into account when mapping out an iPad virtualization project. "If users are in the same building as the infrastructure, that solution looks a lot different than if all users are remote all the time," Weiss said. "The ideal scenario is on-premise, inside the company building -- or in the same vicinity as the data center -- but it's rare that you find that."
Next: The iPad's huge head start