2010 is going to be the year of desktop virtualisation. At least, that's what I've been told by several pundits at many points during 2009 and which many industry bloggers and magazines have been eager to endorse.

For many cloud computing has been the fashionable IT tip of the season but as the Centrix Software survey shows, there have been plenty of companies looking into desktop virtualisation. What's more, the Centrix research has demonstrated that enterprises are more interested in exploring different options when it comes to desktop virtualisation.

It's this approach that is going to make the desktop virtualisation truly fascinating, For a long time, the understanding was that desktop virtualisation = virtual desktop infrastucture, the classic manifestation of the technology as promulgated by VMware. - this was offered by VMware itself (who despite coming up with the term, was a company strangely reluctant to push the technology) and Parallels, with its hypervisor-less version. The other option was the classic Citrix thin-client approach where applications run on a hosted server.

Citrix is an interesting case. The company's Citrix Xen Desktop4 has just been chosen as one of our sister title, Infoworld's Technology of the Year award winners and its offering - with five different approaches to desktop virtualisation gives plenty of choice.

Centrix's Lewis Gee highlights Citrix as a company that's going to shake up the desktop world."When it comes to server virtualisation, VMware is out on its own. But it's a far more open market when it comes to desktop virtualisation," he told me when commenting on the company's survey.

Whether or not 2010 is going to be the year when the technology really takes off, I'm sure that it's right that there's no one company going to dominate it. Gee thinks that Citrix has claims to be the leading light in the desktop virtualisation world. I'm not sure that I'd go as far as that - VMware has jazzed up View, its own take on the technology and Parallels won't stay silent.
For the technology to become more widespread, enterprises have got to become more sophisticated at sorting out which users and which applications will benefit. A one-size-fits all approach is going to lead to very few advantages - but the company that picks the right technology and who works out which users will benefit will surely be strongly placed.