The Continued Life of Desktop Computers in a Data Center and Cloud-Based Workplace
With reports back in 2014 stating that mobile surpassed desktop devices in install-base size, PC sales are declining, and running virtual machines on servers are a cost savings, it’s easy to assume the industry is looking at the death of the desktop PC.
Many analysts suspected that the seemingly unstoppable tablet market growth would decimate PC sales but unexpected things happened: tablet sales started to decline earlier than expected, desktop started to head towards stabilization, and the PC market saw a laptop resurgence. In fact, the IT specialists at Spiceworks found that businesses still spend 21 percent of their hardware budgets on traditional desktop computers compared to 19 percent and 16 percent for server and laptop hardware respectively.
Despite experiencing a modest decline in sales between 2011 and 2015, the desktop computer still remains relevant.
Innovation No Longer Driving Sales
Following the introduction of multi-core processors, the PC industry has not experienced any major innovation drivers to push upgrades. According to the Spiceworks survey, 67 percent and 64 percent of IT professionals say device end-of-life and company growth drive new IT purchases respectively. The survey also found that only 25 percent of IT specialists are encouraging purchases over new technical features.
Modern desktop and laptop computers are better equipped to handle demanding software and do not require replacement as soon as their predecessors before hindering employee productivity. A business that replaced desktop computers every two years may move towards a three-year or longer refresh-cycle without feeling any pain.
Sharing the Workload
In the days of slow networking and Internet access, it was important that an employee’s device had enough processing power to handle necessary productivity programs smoothly. As Internet and networking technology improved it became possible for a centralized server to handle the heavy workload while the employee’s computer acted as a terminal via desktop application or web browser.
This change shifted the importance away from the desktop computer towards having a reliable data center or cloud services system in place. NetworkWorld argues that changes to the power demands of employee computers will lead to a shift where laptop computers will eventually replace desktop computers in all situations where desktop power and security are not the central concern.
The move to server-based applications is also beneficial because it makes it easier for businesses to implement a BYOD and makes it easier for employees to access a business’s applications on the go, so their productivity capabilities will not suffer when working away from the office on business trips or while at home.
Even though the desktop computer is becoming less relevant in the workplace as newer, mobile devices are taking over many roles traditionally reserved for the desktop like reading email, the end is still not in sight. Desktop computers still cling to relevance in your company’s technology budget where raw computing power, affordability, and security are the primary driving needs.
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