Before cloud and big data began to dominate the IT headlines, virtualisation was all the buzz in the enterprise IT space.
Although cloud, along with big data and internet of things (IoT) technologies, have taken everyone’s attention, the march of virtualisation has not stopped.
In terms of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), back in 2013 organisations in Southeast Asia were interested but confused about VDI, according to an IDC Asia-Pacific trend report. The report concluded that VDI was a long-term project that must provide good user experience to be successful.
But IT models are changing rapidly, according to William Ngoh, chief product evangelist of business mobility at VMware . “For most technology initiatives, business agility is now a driving force,” he said. “Many enterprises are beginning to view desktop virtualisation as a critical enabling technology.”
Among the Asia-Pacific countries, the IDC report noted the level of virtualisation in South Korea, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong was on a par with western countries. Countries such as China, India, Malaysia, Taiwan and Thailand, it said, were 12-18 months behind them, while most Southeast Asian countries were more than two years behind the leading pack.
Some countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) region are now picking up pace, said Shahnawas Latiff, senior market analyst for IDC ’s Asia-Pacific software research group. Although IDC does not have a specific penetration data for desktop virtualisation in the region, its virtual client computing tracker data has desktop virtualisation as one of the sub-markets.
“Singapore, Philippines and Indonesia seem to be showing growth, athough Philippines and Indonesia is from a smaller base,” said Latiff.
For VMware, VDI is still showing growth across Southeast Asia, but not as fast as the likes of Korea, Japan and Australia.
“The reason is the stronger focus on consolidating datacentre infrastructures,” said Ngoh. “Another reason for the slower adoption links to specific infrastructural issues such as connectivity and bandwidth. Due to the larger geographical spread of many of these countries, connectivity is still relatively poor between offices, remote offices and branches. In addition, leased lines, for example, are generally still expensive, and these all inhibit overall growth and adoption.” 
Paul Serrano, chief evangelist of Asia-Pacific and Japan at Nutanix , said the company was seeing expanding deployment of VDI across most of the emerging Asean countries, and these latecomers to the technology might have the advantage of the lessons learned by early adopters, as well as lower costs due to maturity of technology.
“Clearly for Asean, the VDI take-up rate will exceed that of countries such as South Korea and Japan. Deployments should be more successful with lower costs,” he said.
Andy Cocks, chief technology officer (CTO) at Dimension Data, Asia-Pacific , does not think Southeast Asian countries are lagging behind. Rather, he believes they are just very specific about the users.
“We have seen an uptick in the use of virtualisation where the network infrastructure allows reliable connections. We first saw this in mature countries such as Japan and Korea, but now the Southeast Asian network/bandwidth has really caught up, allowing for this type of adoption.”

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