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Dell and Hewlett-Packard on Monday unveiled new zero-client devices and reference architectures for VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) implementations.
Dell on Monday also unveiled new versions of its midrange EqualLogic storage arrays with a new SSD tier for improving the performance of virtual desktop deployments.
The Dell and HP moves come a week before the opening of the VMworld conference, where vendors across a wide swathe of the IT industry will meet to display hardware and software products for virtualized and cloud environments.
The two companies' moves to beef up their zero-client product line along with the introduction of reference architectures for VDI comes at a time when VDI is becoming an increasingly important alternative to traditional client architectures in IT organizations.
Gunnar Berger, a research director at analyst firm Gartner, wrote in an April blog post that Gartner expects virtual desktops could have a market penetration of 8 percent to 10 percent by 2015.
That growth will come from IT organizations that ensure that employees understand the benefits of VDI and not on the technical merits of VDI, Berger wrote.
"I believe that virtual desktops are gaining traction not because they are the best technical choice, in many use cases they aren’t, but because virtual desktops bring benefits to the employee that are hard to measure," he wrote.
For Dell and HP, that means increasing zero-client performance while providing reference architectures that make it easier for business and their solution providers to deploy VDI.
Dell's VDI reference architecture stems from Dell's acquisition earlier this year of Wyse, one of the best-known names in the thin-client and zero-client industry.
Jeff McNaught, executive director of marketing and chief strategist for the Wyse business unit of Dell, said that several acquisitions, including that of Wyse, storage vendor EqualLogic and other technologies, enables the company to deliver "end-to-end, best-of-breed VDI solutions."
"Now that Dell, Wyse and EqualLogic are all together, we can bring together a complete solution," McNaught said.
Dell's new reference architecture includes several initiatives that allow solution providers to more easily deploy VDI than in the past, McNaught said.
These include vStart for VDI Reference Architecture, part of the company's vStart series of complete solutions for IT deployments. Developed for VMware View VDI environments, they include the vStart 50, a pre-configured solution for SMBs or departments with up to 50 users, and vStart 1000, which was developed for enterprises with up to 1,000 users.