Imation’s Windows To Go play is in a much different shape to what it was in when Microsoft first certified the vendor’s IronKey secure USB drives, and much of that occurred at the hands of resellers.
Imation acquired IronKey in October 2011, adding tiered storage to the vendor’s existing storage and security portfolio.
It introduced Windows To Go – Microsoft’s operating system capable of booting from mass storage devices (including USBs) – to IronKey once Windows 8 Enterprise came into the mix.
Imation Asia-Pacific (APAC) mobile security general manager, Sven Radavics, said the company sees Windows To Go as complementary to virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), but that was not always the case.
“When we started down this path and committed to the Windows To Go market and Microsoft technology, we spent a lot of time looking at the market, analysing the best place for Windows To Go, use cases, benefits, and what competition would be,” Radavics told ARN.
“Right at the beginning, all of our conversations were around VDI being a competitive technology, and that is how we went out to market.”
Imation’s linear go-to-market shifted as specialist resellers questioned the neglectful approach.
Resellers – particularly those focused on VDI – were asking Imation why it viewed VDI as a competitor when it could be complementary.
Radavics said Imation adjusted its strategy under the principle that VDI must be housed and connected.
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“VDI needs to be on a device, and it can be a Windows To Go device as much as it can be a laptop. When you look at it like that, you can have your VDI client, but because Windows To Go is a full Windows 8 installation, you can still house legacy applications and traditional IT tools on a device to complement VDI.”
“Also, the one challenge for VDI is when users are in places where they cannot connect to the Internet. The IronKey workstation allows them to access tools regardless.”
Despite the pairing, Radavics revealed that demand for Windows To Go-based IronKey remains “lumpy”; market trends (particularly mobility, and the proliferated deployment of Cloud computing) have accelerated customer conversations, as has the end of Windows XP support.
Radavics expects Imation to be in this position for at least 12 months as Windows 8 and 8.1 continues its adoption crawl.
Imation is pushing resellers to addressing business issues in line with these trends by identifying customer pain points, and introducing Windows To Go when relevant, rather than making a technology-first proposition.