CIOs from a wide range of industries and government organisations gathered in Sydney and Canberra recently to examine best practices for avoiding common virtualisation headaches, as well as how to reap maximum efficiencies and cost-savings from virtualisation projects.
What follows is a complete transcript of the panel discussion from the recent CIO Breakfast Briefing, Virtualisation -- A Reality Check, featuring Brian Ott, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Unisys internal IT organisation, Jean-Marc Annonier, Research Manager for IT Spending, IDC Australia and Matt Rodgers, Editor of CIO Australia.
Matt Rodgers, Editor, CIO Australia: I find a good place to kick off these discussions is to ask each of you about the presentations we just saw. Brian, does your experience dovetail with the research Jean Marc presented today? And Jean Marc, does Brian’s experience seem consistent with the type of research you’ve been doing into the CIO technology adoption habits?
Jean-Marc Annonier, Research Manager for IT Spending, IDC Australia: Yes, it was actually quite surprising to see a technology company going through the same stages and challenges that are the same as we found in our research.
Brian Ott, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Unisys internal IT organisation: Well, as I was presenting, I referenced Jean Marc quite a bit -- the funny part was we didn’t go into this thing saying this is what we were going to do.
The technology, the industry, everything’s evolving and we’re just learning as we go with it, trying to stay ahead of it.
But everything that’s on that leading edge -- and to come -- we’re right there testing it. One thing I did want to mention is that we’re not implementing technology in our IT environment unless it makes business sense. This is not ‘play with it and see if it’s fine”.
In Unisys internally do you have a lot of thin clients? We’re using Citrix, with different types of technology terminal services and how would VDI play into that roadmap from your view?
Brian Ott: As I mentioned earlier, we’re going fairly slow on virtual desktops because we don’t have a lot of thin clients today. As we’ve been upgrading technology at some of our larger audience areas, like our call centre and some of our support centres, we’ve been doing more investment in virtual clients. We’ve also done a joint development with Microsoft on a solution called Consolidated Desktop.
But now we’re evaluating VDI from VMware as a possible solution. We’re actually comparing the two and seeing what’s the best value proposition for us. However, the Microsoft solution does include a Citrix component in the joint development we’re doing with them.
With your customers, do you find there’s a fair bit of uptake in VDI for them? You said you support a lot of customers in your data centre -- are you finding there’s much take up of VDI for them?
Brian Ott: Well, we have a few clients in America right now that we are rolling out VDI. Again, the desktop is a slower adoption right now. Virtualisation of the servers in our environment is probably the number one thing that we’re doing for clients, and the desktop is coming behind that.
In terms of server virtualisation at the moment we have several choices between Microsoft, VMware, etc. Could you give us a quick comparison based on your practical experience?
Brian Ott: The comparison of Xen versus Microsoft Hyper-V? Do you want my opinion or do you want the industry opinion? I was thinking we can get [Jean-Marc Annonier’s] opinion and then I’ll give you mine.
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