Softricity Proves ROI on Virtualization

The software virtualization vendor seeks to prove its claims when it releases a new calculator designed to show how its offering can reduce cost of ownership.

Software virtualization vendor Softricity has pitched its SoftGrid platform and ZeroTouch offering as a means to lower the cost of deploying and updating applications on the desktop.

On March 13 it plans to prove those claims when it releases a new calculator designed to show how the tool can reduce total cost of ownership.

The new Return on Virtualization calculator, validated by Forrester Research using its Total Economic Impact methodology, takes into account the time it takes to roll out a software update to desktops, administrators salaries and compares that to the steps required to deploy those updates using SoftGrid.

"Cost has to be the key factor. This calculator can show people can save 10 to 1 or 8 to 1 when they use virtualized applications and streaming," said David Greschler, co-founder of the Boston company.

The SoftGrid platform saves time and money by greatly reducing the overhead associated with software deployments—especially the time-consuming task of regression testing of applications or updates before they are deployed—and by eliminating application conflicts.

SoftGrid, which can virtualize applications, stream applications on demand and endow applications with self-provisioning functions, eliminates application conflicts by virtualizing all the configuration files necessary to run an application without permanently altering Dynamic Link Libraries.

Softricity customers at Northeastern University in Boston worked with the calculator and found that Northeastern has reduced its annual application management costs from $868,000 to $126,000, according to Rick Mickool, executive director of IS (Information Systems) at the Boston-based university.

/zimages/1/28571.gifClick here to read more about Softricitys SoftGrid desktop virtualization software.

"Some calculators have a bias in terms of what they use as the variables in the calculations. This one is pretty complete," said Mickool, who also expects to see a three-year savings of $1.6 million and found the Softricity software paid for itself in just under nine months.

"Its one thing to be able to get new opportunities out of this, but its even better to be able to talk about how we saved money in normal operations where we can then direct money to do new things," said Mickool, whose IS organization is also using the calculator as a planning tool.

The Forrester Total Economic Impact methodology takes into account four factors, including cost, benefits, flexibility and risk, according to David Friedlander, senior analyst at the Cambridge, Mass., research and consulting firm.

"These calculators should give users the ability to change inputs or assumptions. In this case, there are a lot of things a user may want to change—for example coming from a managed desktop, a thin client or an unmanaged environment. Those are included in the calculator," he said.

Even without the calculator, Softricity has seen healthy growth in its pioneering software virtualization technology.

The company now has some 500 customers and doubled its revenue, according to Greschler.

"Weve gone through the proof stage, and now were in the growth stage," he said.

To help accelerate that growth, Softricity last week named former executive vice president worldwide sales for Veritas Software, Art Matin, as its new CEO.

His mission will be to help scale the growing on-demand software virtualization vendor. Former CEO Harry Ruda will remain on Softricitys board.

Forresters Friedlander believes that application virtualization will eventually eliminate the requirement for electronic software distribution and imaging tools.

"Right now change management is a really difficult process. What will happen is that customers will be able to deploy separate layers, so that applications wont be dependent on the operating system and you can configure things without concern for the underlying layer. So can patch and not worry about 50 applications that might break.

"The net effect is people will be able to stop worrying which hardware configuration you have and which image youre managing. Everything will be in its own virtual layer and wont be affected to nearly the same extent by changes," he said.

Although that wont happen overnight, more and larger vendors are entering the fray.

Beyond pioneers such as Softricity and AppStream, Citrix with its project Tarpon will address application virtualization and the end of this year.

"Others will likely follow. I can see the potential for companies like Microsoft, VMware or HP getting into the market as well," said Friedlander.

The Softricity Return on Virtualization calculator is available now for existing and prospective users.

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