This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will focus on developing a desktop-specific distributed architecture to provide enterprise grade, highly available and scalable virtual desktop systems that cost no more than a regular PC. In order to accomplish this, the inherent challenges and the focus of the research will be 1) to create a seamless, scalable and self-managed distributed fabric that is easy to manage and 2) to develop an approach that will allow the distribution of large desktop templates (in the order of tens of gigabytes) to tens of thousands of desktops in less than an hour. The system will be built in stages and tested via measurements in a lab setting and by deploying pilots with customers to determine the feasibility of the solution.
This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project takes advantage of a sizable and growing demand for virtual desktops that offer lower management costs and superior data security. However, existing solutions on the market are 4 to 10 times the cost of regular PCs and require highly skilled personnel to operate, thus hampering their adoption. If the research team is able to overcome the technical challenges and create a solution that costs no more than a regular PC, it will open up the entire market consisting of an installed base of 500 million commercial desktop PCs with 84 million new units purchased each year worldwide. Goldman Sachs predicts that this market will grow to $1.5B to $2.4B by 2011.