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Microsoft’s Windows Virtual Desktop Is Set To Drive Azure VDI Sales Explosion: Partners

‘What we see in enterprises is a growing concern around security and a growing mobile workforce,’ says SynchroNet CEO Darin Cook. “The best answer for those two things is a cloud desktop or a cloud mechanism to distribute applications. I think there will be some sort of desktop as a service in every enterprise over the next 24 months.”

Microsoft’s blessing of the cloud desktop as a service market with Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) is poised to drive an Azure VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) sales bonanza, said solution providers gathered at IGEL’s DISRUPT 2020 Cloud Workspaces Forum.

SynchroNet, one of the top Amazon Web Services’ WorkSpaces providers, doubled its business from $3 million to $6 million last year and is expecting to drive further robust sales growth as it enters the Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) market, said SynchroNet CEO Darin Cook (pictured).

WVD is eventually going to be as “big” as the Amazon business, for Houston-headquartered SynchroNet, predicted Cook, who bought the solution provider in 2013 and transformed it into an Amazon WorkSpaces market leader.

Cook sees Microsoft’s entry into the cloud desktop-as-service market last fall with WVD as a “validation” of the VDI cloud market that is creating new opportunities for all the players in the market. “It’s an all boats rise type of event,” he said. “Our enterprise customers are asking us about WVD. We are definitely including WVD in our portfolio of products. It’s a new platform for us but we are already working with dozens of Fortune 500 and even a few Fortune five customers who have questions.”

Cook sees pent-up demand in the cloud desktop as-a-service market. “What we see in enterprises is a growing concern around security and a growing mobile work force,” he said. “The best answer for those two things is a cloud desktop or a cloud mechanism to distribute applications. I think there will be some sort of desktop as-a-service in every enterprise over the next 24 months.”

Cook is also establishing closer ties to IGEL which announced at the show the general availability of Linux client support for WVD as part of its IGEL Linux based edge operating system. “We see an opportunity with IGEL to capture large workforce (desktop as-a-service opportunities), simplify management and to assist with BYOD consumption in the enterprise,” he said.

Al Solorzano, vice president of end user computing for Entisys360, one of top VDI solution providers in the country, said he expects big “momentum” for both WVD and Azure in 2020. “As we have WVD conversations we expect to also have Azure consumption conversations,” he said. “It’s a really good sweet spot for us…You’ll see momentum in WVD really start to accelerate in 2020. I think it’s going to be a pretty good uptick for our Azure consumption and our Microsoft licensing.”

Solorzano said he is also seeing an explosion in his IGEL desktop-as-a-service business with sales doubling over the last year and a “great possibility” that sales will double again in 2020. “We are very optimistic about 2020,” he said.

Pete Downing, chief marketing technology officer (CMTO) for XenTegra -- which just won Citrix’s U.S. partner of the year award -- said he expects 30-60 percent growth in the overall desktop as-a-service market this year with Microsoft entering the market. “The domino effect is crazy,” he said. “Every customer is asking about Windows Virtual Desktop and Azure. I have never seen a sales pipeline for a product grow as fast as Microsoft WVD and Azure. Microsoft has validated desktop as a service.”

Downing said he expects the desktop-as-a-service frenzy to drive triple-digit growth for XenTegra’s Azure business this year.

Even though Microsoft is ramping up its WVD sales offensive, SynchroNet’s Cook says Amazon WorkSpaces has the leadership position. “There’s still a pretty big gap between a fully functioned (WVD) offer and service compared compared to WorkSpaces,” he said. “WVD is still developing in my opinion, but it is going to get there.”

At the same time, there are feature requests into AWS with WorkSpaces that are opening the door for tens of thousands of additional desktop as service opportunities, said Cook.

“We are pretty excited about the overall opportunity,” he said. “What we see across the board is the opportunity to help these enterprise customers how to leverage the best platform for the right use case.”

Cook said the move to transform SynchroNet into a cloud workspaces market leader has increased the valuation of his company by more than 10 times over the last two years. Those solution providers that stick with the old model are sure to face the same death march that has taken down partners in other big market transitions, he said.

“Look back at the PBX integrators with the introduction of VoIP,” he said. “The companies that got on board with VoIP and recognized that it was a data technology took that opportunity and grew significantly. Those that didn’t vanished.”

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