Cover Story: The Mobile Technology Revolution

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Virtualization solution providers have been dealing with slow uptake of the technology on the desktop, but that’s changing as the iPad begins to make its mark on the business IT landscape.

In some cases, seeing the iPad in action as a desktop virtualization end point has had a sudden and dramatic impact on a customer’s IT purchasing decision. Case in point: Mainline Information Systems, Tallahassee, Fla., recently inked a deal with a Northern California hospital that had been evaluating VMware View for the better part of a year but had yet to pull the trigger.

However, the customer fence-sitting ended quickly when Mainline gave an on-site demo of VMware View for iPad. A week later, Mainline started a $1.2 million project to enable 800 seats of VMware View at the hospital, with iPads as the primary client device for doctors, according to Chris Minnis, Mainline’s virtualization services manager. “The moment we brought one of our employees into the environment with an iPad and a doctor saw it, everything fell into place,” said Minnis.

There’s a certain irony in the fact that the iPad, a device seemingly designed for consumers, is having such a significant effect in the enterprise data center. Most virtualization solution providers don’t even sell the device, preferring instead to tap into the services opportunities it creates.

Keith Norbie, vice president of sales at Nexus Information Systems, Minnetonka, Minn., said iPad and tablet desktop virtualization currently accounts for a small amount his business, but he’s bullish on the future revenue stream it will generate. “When you look at the sphere of influence this type of work puts you in—that’s where the strategic value lies,” he said. “The IT services drag with this work is significant.”

—Kevin McLaughlin

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