Is IBM’s new Smart Business Desktop Cloud secretly powered by Desktone?

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.

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.

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!

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IBM did actually mention something about this a while ago. They said you could save upto 600 bucks in licensing costs if you used an open-source run (non-microsoft) terminal server desktop.

Check the url I added as my website.


The licensing issues and savings claims baffle me. Doesn't a Data Center License / SA  / VEDC arrangement negate those claims and perceived savings  - or at least put all desktop / end point solutions on the same footing? Doesn't an open source or Linux endpoint without Data Center / SA / VEDC invoke the "Thin Client Tax" while an existing MS license does not?? The debate and confusion rages on...


Don't confuse the very small cost of VECD as a major factor of virtual desktops.  In the link below you can see the costs for VECD.

When you consider all of the costs to support a desktop VECD is a not a major factor in the decision process to choose to virtualize desktops, only a small component ususally offset by other savings and benefits driven by the use case.


Why does anybody care about Desktone? It does so little. Classic case of let's not think and let vendors tell us where to go. Does CSC use Desktone.


Mike, One can use a Datacenter License per host + TSCAL per user/client device and deliver Server OS Desktops, or go the route of Vista + SA + VECD, or just enroll in VECD for Devices.  One does not need a datacenter license + VECD.


Bit of late reply...

Mark, the cost of VECD is _not_ minimal!  At $110/user/year plus the cost of your virtualization vendor's software, it adds p pretty quickly.  For example, our nonprofit company would have to pay about $23,000/year for 170 virtual desktops.  Our entire yearly IT budget is less than $90,000.  Extrapolate that VECD cost over 1000 virtual desktops and your talking hundreds of thousands of dollars.  And yes, many larger companies _do not_ have SA (I just spoke with several at a recent VMware conference when discussing VECD and VMware View 3).  Patrick is correct.


i thought the IBM offering was based on pDesk?