Earlier this week, IBM announced its first wave of commercial cloud services. The news was a big step for them and was well covered by bloggers and via twitter, although I didn’t personally pay too much attention since I don’t really follow the cloud per se.
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Then I saw a couple of tweets (1, 2, 3... thanks Twitter RSS feed for "cloud + desktop") talking about IBM’s desktop cloud, and I thought, “What desktop cloud?” So I looked at the press release again, and sure enough, there’s a “virtual desktops” element mentioned towards the end.
This is weird, since up until this point I haven’t heard anything about virtual desktops from IBM. (And actually I’m just now reading Robert X. Cringely’s 1992 book “Accidental Empires,” so I’m kind of bearish on IBM’s ability to innovate at anything right now.)
I as I read the press release about IBM’s business desktop cloud, I was dismayed to find no details whatsoever apart from broad statements like “server-enabled virtualized desktops deliver a better end-user experience.” So I assume they're talking about VDI (or server-based computing) as opposed to desktops streamed from the cloud, but other than that, I know nothing.
Then the very next paragraph talks about a current IBM Business Desktop in the Cloud customer being Pike County Schools in Kentucky. WHA?!?! Is this the same Pike County Schools in Kentucky that Desktone keeps trotting out as their big reference?
So I hop over to Desktone’s website to download their Pike County case study (PDF link), and sure enough, there’s the same CIO “Maritta Horne” making the same quote about the desktops in the cloud.
And hey, look at that! The Desktone case study says IBM Global Services did the implementation. So I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Desktone is powering IBM’s new Smart Business Desktop Cloud.
Why the secrecy?
If this is true, I wonder why they’re being secretive about it? Desktone is filled with tons of smart folks (mostly from Softricity) with a great track record in the desktop virtualization industry. IBM is, well, IBM. You’d think the Desktone brand would help?
Ironically the Desktone case study shows Pike County saving 64% with their cloud desktops, while the IBM press release only says they saved 62%. So slapping an IBM label on an existing service apparently costs you 2%. :) Actually that’s not too bad considering that IBM label probably cost you about 300% in the mid 1980s. So hey, way to go IBM!
Regardless of the savings, this is huge for Desktone, so congrats to them!