We recently held our annual partner accelerator events in Dublin and Birmingham, and took the opportunity to ask our partners what they really thought of the current virtualisation landscape.

The response from more than 200 partners was resounding: virtualisation is now integral to organisations with nearly half (44 per cent) of the UK channel saying their customers are already using virtualisation, while the remaining half (55 per cent) say customers are in the process of evaluating or trialing the technology. It was a similar picture in Ireland, with a third of the Irish channel saying customers are using virtualisation across the entire organisation, while the remaining two thirds (66 per cent) say customers are in the process of evaluating or trialing the technology.

Desktop virtualisation currently presents the best sales opportunity in the UK – 62 per cent of respondents highlight the solution as the bestselling virtualisation technology; desktop virtualisation adoption in Ireland is at a slightly earlier stage in the cycle with 44 per cent saying it’s the best sales opportunity currently. The BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) concept, an initiative that allows employees to use personal devices for work purposes, is also rapidly gaining traction as end users rush to adopt a more flexible working style. With the influx of consumer devices in the workplace, over 90 per cent of UK respondents (87 per cent in Ireland) have seen either “some” or “considerable” growth in the demand for virtualisation solutions supporting employee’s own devices (such as tablets or smartphones) in the workplace.

So what about the future of virtualisation? By 2014 it is expected that there will be a shift in the virtualisation landscape with 61 per cent of UK partners and 45 per cent of Irish partners suggesting that virtualisation, as part of a broader cloud computing initiative, will be responsible for driving sales in three years’ time. To accommodate this trend, over half of UK partners (54 per cent) and 48 per cent of Irish partners have already adapted business models to provide cloud services, while nearly a quarter (20 per cent in the UK and 16 per cent in Ireland) are planning to do so this year.

Ultimately, we’re clearly working within an ever-evolving IT landscape. The impact of consumerisation is already evident as customers look to meet the differing needs of today’s workforce; desktop virtualisation is also making a significant impact in the marketplace. Yet by the same token the next three years is not just about broad adoption of desktop virtualisation – just as important is the channel’s investment in cloud based services using desktop and server virtualisation as the underlying platform.

To all our UK and Ireland partners – happy selling and see you all at next year’s CPA!