IBM's virtual desktop, minus Microsoft: will it float?

Following on from my musings yesterday on Forrester’s report on 2.0, it’s noteworthy that today sees a Wall Street Journal article that IBM have announced a whole new virtual desktop, which being  Linux+Notes, means no Microsoft products. Using a Microsoft free, Virtual Linux (et al) Desktop CNET notes, means cost savings of 50% – up to $800 per user. Their only qualm is that data will be stored centrally online, which strikes me as a bit of a red herring as I can’t see any serious corporate storing data without central back-ups.

What struck me here was the fact that this system means the Techs in central can also deploy collaboration software to their users. This package is a mix of Red Hat and Notes Domino and acording to IBM this brings a big plus:

Using Red Hat to host the Notes Domino platform provides the stability of Red Hat using a very strong collaboration suite that should meet any company’s needs. The suite can provide email, team rooms, document storage and very much more. Starting with version 8 it comes with Symphony, a free office suite built by IBM using the OpenOffice core code. 

Will it float? I think this depends on the richnness of the delivery. Central IT and Finance may see benefits in terms of cash and robustness, but can it deliver the sort of 2.0 experience that an increasingly social-media savvy employee base expects? Going on the last time I played with Domino, the answer would seem ‘No’, but that was one hell of a long time ago…

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