analysis | month in view way to > Half the cloud In a series of three roundtables conducted by CNME and Citrix across the UAE, Qatar and Kuwait, Dave Reeder and Sathya Mithra Ashok find that end-users may look at virtualisation and its benefits differently, but face the same challenges when it comes to implementation and usage. Virtualisation has long moved
from being just a technology that is spoken about, to being one that is actively being implemented across enterprises. The stage of implementation projects might vary, and enterprises might start at different points in time, but it is true to say that most enterprises in the region are currently involved in some aspect of consoldation and virtulisation. During a series of three roundtables conducted last month by CPI and Citrix, end-users gathered at Qatar, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi to discuss the challenges that they were facing with implementing and managing virtualisation solutions – and it was uncanny the way they were different and alike all at the same time.
Alex Filocca, regional marketing manager at Citrix
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“Virtualisation at every point – from the server to the desktop – holds a lot of benefits – no doubt. While server virtualisation has been proven and is increasingly adopted, the value of desktop virtualisation is yet to be clearly established for organisations here,” stated Rajan A D, IT infrastructure manager at Ali Bin Ali Group. Most end-users who had gathered at the Qatar roundtable stated that while they had started the journey to virtualisation with the server end, they were keen on looking at the advantages that desktop virtualisation could bring to the table. They had two key concerns though – licensing and connectivity. “Licensing in a desktop virtualisation environment can be a difficult process. Therefore, vendors like Microsoft should work to make this bit more affordable and effective for not just large enterprises but even small businesses, so we can adopt it faster and with less investment,” stated V V Prasad, acting IT manager at Midmac Contracting. “Connectivity and network issues are my major concern with desktop virtualisation. We have a branch outside Doha where we have to do with limited connectivity provided by WiMAX. Our students also work extensively with AutoCAD solutions and because of that I am worried about my network quality and costs if I have to turn my current workstations into thin clients for VDI,” stated Saeed Assadi, IT manager at Qatar Aeronautical College. Alex Filocca, regional marketing manager at Citrix stated, “The cost of maintaining hundreds of desktop systems is no longer viable. Increasingly, we’ll all be delivering IT as open-demand services. The shift to server virtualisation was step one, now we’re moving on to other areas such as desktop virtualisation and network virtualisation. That’s really exciting with, for example, appliances becoming virtual appliances.” However, despite his optimism, the discussion at the Kuwait roundtable also suggested that the transition might not be universal.
Aaron White, regional director, Middle East and Africa at Citrix
“Here we have a problem with the infrastructure,” explains Abdulnaser Al-Turkait, IT Department Manager of Salhia, a real estate group. “Many of us are still using DSL, so data transfer is expensive. To move down the virtualisation route, we need to be abvle to rely on the network.” Although a fibre roll-out is underway in the country, priority is being given to government departments. According to Amr Moussa, IT Manager of manufacturing company the SGI Group, “Internet speed is very limiting for us here as well as costly. Yes, we see clouding [cloud computing] as the future but at the moment it doesn’t help us. Only government can afford the sophistication of cable. The challenge I’m facing is this: connectivity to the data amd internet cost are expensive centre is hard, bandwidth is a problem so how do we cope as the business expands?” At the Abu Dhabi chapter of the roundtable, the concerns exhibited by the end-users remained very similar. Osama Abushaban, head of ICT at the United Al Saqer Group, who was part of the discussion in the UAE stated, “The service providers or enablers here are not truly enablers. They restrict our scope by not providing proper service level agreements (SLAs) for the quality of
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