PC Disruption: Virtual Desktops Provide Low Cost Computing

SOCAP09 Sponsor nComputing Taps Unused Computer Resources
Making better use of existing resources is one of the canons of Sustainability. And one of the greatest untapped resources happens to be sitting on your desk. A typical PC running standard office applications like email, word processing and web browsing uses less than 5% of it’s processing power, which means 95% of this resource is wasted.
SOCAP09 sponsor nComputing is harnessing this vast, untapped resource. The Silicon Valley-based company has developed a unique software solution based on virtualization technology that creates virtual independent desktops inside one Windows or Linux PC allowing a single PC to be shared by many users.
The nComputing solution can reduce computer deployment costs up to 75%, not to mention the huge savings in energy costs, and is attracting attention from businesses all over the world. But perhaps the most important beneficiaries of this disruptive technology are schools, non-profits and developing economies that can now obtain low cost computing solutions that were previously out of reach.

Bringing Disruption to SOCAP09
This year’s SOCAP09 conference will explore the theme of disruption as one of the key drivers for building the new social capital marketplace. The conference will bring together a unique mix of the world’s top social innovators – investors, donors, entrepreneurs, and thought-leaders. All are catalysts for change, developing solutions in new and often surprising ways.
The term “disruptive innovation” first appeared in the 1997 book The Innovator’s Dilemma by Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen. He described this disruption as an innovation that improves a product or service in ways that the market does not expect, typically by being lower priced or designed for a different set of consumers.
nComputing’s virtualization technology fits into Christensen’s definition of “low-end disruption” which occurs when the rate at which products improve exceeds the rate at which customers can utilize the new performance. Therefore, at some point the performance of the product overshoots the needs of certain customer segments.
The nComputing disruptive solution is based on a simple fact: today’s PCs are so powerful that the vast majority of applications only use a small fraction of the computer’s capacity. PCs have gotten faster and faster every year, but typical user needs have increased only slightly.
The processor utilization on a typical PC averages less than 5%. Today’s desktops have become as powerful as mainframe computers from 15 years ago.
Revolutionizing Computing
nComp.jpgnComputing’s virtualization software and hardware tap this unused capacity so that it can be simultaneously shared by many users. Each user connects to the shared PC through a small nComputing access device. The user sets up his/her own workstation by plugging a monitor, keyboard and mouse into the access device which has no CPU, memory, or moving parts – so it’s inexpensive and easy to deploy. The host computer provides each user with a discrete storage space to save files.
The solution provides a full PC experience at a fraction of the cost. Typical cost savings are 75% per user, compared to buying each user a dedicated PC. Operating costs are also reduced typically in the 70% range as the shared resource uses much less power and requires less maintenance and support.
nComputing sells its products through a worldwide reseller partner network. Sharing their margin with their partners has enabled many entrepreneurs in developing countries to build successful businesses.
You can learn more about the challenges of growing for-profit technology businesses in emerging markets by reading Mark Beckford’s blog Disruptive Leadership. Mark is nComputing’s VP of Global Business Development and will be attending SOCAP09 this year. On the blog, he writes about the strategies and techniques that change the game, overturn the status quo, and ultimately make the biggest possible impact.
Still Time to Register for SOCAP09
The Social Capital Market, the market at the intersection of money and meaning, is gaining strength and momentum. Join Triple Pundit at SOCAP09 on September 1-3, 2009 at the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco to learn from the people and organizations who are making it happen. Discounted registration is still available through July 31.
Graphics courtesy of nComputing.

My professional experience over the past 20 years has taken me from Madison Avenue to Silicon Valley in various marketing research, marketing, business development and sales roles. I now work as a freelance environmental writer and researcher while pursuing an MBA in Sustainable Management at the Presidio Graduate School.I'm especially interested in the use of technology to address the issues of education, equality, environment, health, and economic development.You can keep tabs on me at Triple Pundit and the NY Times Green Inc blog, email me at jameswitkin@gmail.com, or find me typing away at the various coffee shops around Palo Alto.

2 responses

  1. Virtual desktops sound like a great idea. As pointed out educational institutions are an obvious beneficiary, but this can also be a huge help to businesses all over the world, who need to cut costs in a recession. Can help them cut costs and maybe less people will be laid off.

  2. Great point, Matt. Many businesses are starting to deploy virtualization technologies to save money and energy. It would be nice to think that some of those savings could be used to save jobs. Andrew Winston makes this same point in his new book, Green Recovery.

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