Relentless in our thirst for knowledge, and hot on the heels of our partner poll earlier this year, we recently commissioned an independent report to better understand the reseller landscape across the UK and Ireland. Targeted at all resellers (not just those that work with us!), we wanted to get a feel for attitudes towards virtual computing technologies and what is driving uptake of the likes of desktop virtualisation.

Through a combination of an online survey and focus groups held across the UK and Ireland, over 170 resellers shared their views on the technology landscape, delivering a true “state of the nation”.

The good news is that cloud computing is a reality. As the technology gathers momentum, 61% of resellers are offering cloud-based infrastructure, either with or without a preferred vendor. Edging out in the lead, but arguably a key stepping stone into the cloud, 62% of resellers are in the desktop virtualisation market, either with or without a preferred vendor, and are actively offering customers desktop virtualisation solutions. This also tallies with the survey conducted within our partner base back in March, which revealed that 62% of respondents believed desktop virtualisation to be the hottest selling opportunity. A further 19% of resellers are considering selling the technology; a further 22% are considering selling cloud-based infrastructure.

Resellers indicate that there are a whole range of reasons driving customer demand for desktop virtualisation technology, from flexible and mobile working (24% of respondents) to business continuity (21%), a desktop refresh (18%) or a Windows 7 roll out (15%). Resellers also anticipate that customers intend to use desktop virtualisation for a variety of user scenarios, demonstrating the flexible nature of the technology, from allowing homeworkers to log onto work systems via their own PC (13%), to logging on from home using a work laptop (14%) and adequately supporting branch office workers (16%).

However, the consumerisation of IT continues to dominate the channel (and IT) landscape – with resellers predicting that the largest user scenario to be supported via desktop virtualisation will be smartphone and tablet usage. Whilst the majority of users are logging on remotely, using desktop virtualisation, via a Windows-based laptop, 50% of resellers are seeing demand from customers to allow users to log on via iPads, closely followed by iPhones (40%) and Mac OS (34%).

This is a sign of things to come, as resellers begin to realise the impact of the “anywhere, any device” concept to their customer base. Combine it with a gradual shift to the cloud, and the concept of virtual computing isn’t something to be ignored. Regardless of whether you currently sell Citrix technology or not, be assured that “virtual” is here to stay as all organisations begin to look to a new, liberated IT environment capable of accommodating a multitude of devices and working styles. Don’t get left behind in the rush.