The need for cloud offerings to support a vast mobile infrastructure has grown. Tablet sales tend to steal the limelight - but a robust cloud infrastructure is often the key to the success of such devices across business verticals.
Virtualisation software sold through the distribution channel, provided either by vendors or channel partners in western Europe in euro terms, has seen three consecutive quarters of growth.
Virtualisation software sales in Q1 of this year were up 35.4 per cent year on year in western Europe and 50.7 per cent in the UK alone. This quarter is usually dominated by high IT spend -- suggesting high uptake in big business for the whole year.
In the third quarter, 23 per cent year-on-year growth in the virtualisation software category pushed its share of the overall software market from 13.7 per cent to 16.1 per cent - at the expense of office apps and OSes.
The UK saw year-on-year expansion of 36 per cent in Q3, further cementing itself as the largest western European market for virtualisation software, and accounting for 30 per cent of western European revenues.
France also impressed, with revenue up 73 per cent over the same period -- the highest seen in any individual country, albeit from a relatively lower base. France saw hardly any growth in the category in the first two quarters of this year.
It is clear from industry statements that cloud-oriented services and implementation in key corporate accounts have long been a strategy for providing customers with practical and economical back-end mobility offerings.
This strategy also makes subscription-oriented relationships more likely across the world of distribution, which should help ensure long-term revenue streams.
All the main vendors in the UK have benefited from this growth in virtualisation software sales, with VMware’s revenue up 45 per cent and IBM’s revenue up 170 per cent.
Although these two vendors are yet to grab a sufficiently strong foothold in this category, Microsoft (whose office application software sales declined two per cent year on year) benefited from a 65 per cent increase in its comparable revenue. Veeam was up 58 per cent, and Citrix saw modest growth of 10 per cent.
In the UK the virtualisation software market growth correlates with the trend for mobile computing. In western Europe as a whole, notebook sales in revenue terms, going through distribution, were down 3.7 per cent in the year to September 2012, compared with 2011. That compares with growth of 10.1 per cent in the UK.
UK tablet revenue soars
More significantly, sales of tablets in the UK grew much more than in parts of western Europe -- with revenue up 253 per cent and 139 per cent respectively.
The UK has become the main market for tablets for several reasons: it has not been as economically challenged as many other European countries, allowing for more consumer spend.
Also, demographic factors have seen more and more people moving closer to the main cities -- resulting in an increase in the number of people commuting to work. Third, infrastructure in the UK is better able to support tablet and notebook users trying to access streaming content on the go.
More workers use tablets for business and personal purposes, and mobile virtualisation allows such devices to support multiple OSes. Some office workers like to save time by checking and responding to email during their daily commute.
In addition, remote and home working has driven demand for cloud-based storage that helps workers access information anywhere, on any device, at any time. We expect the virtualisation market to continue to grow; recent data indicates that more software sales involve cloud-based offerings.
Senthuran Premakumar is an enterprise research analyst at Context
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