Dell Unveils Virtual Desktop Solutions At VMworld

As usual, Dell came to VMworld ready to make some big product announcements.

Dell unveiled this week from VMware's annual conference in San Francisco new solutions for enterprise-ready virtual desktops that put into play the Texas-based computer vendor's VMware strategy.

The new product line offers three client devices and three servers. Together they deliver an end-to-end solution -- from datacenter to endpoint -- for virtual workloads of all shapes and sizes.

[ Related: Dell Upgrades Its Thin Client Device, Wyse Cloud Connect]

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"In terms of strategy, Dell's objective is to deliver a true end-to-end desktop virtualization environment. Desktop virtualization is arguably one of the most complicated things to put together for an organization," Jeff McNaught, Dell's cloud client-computing executive director for marketing and chief strategy officer, told CRN.

McNaught was a co-inventor of the Wyse thin client and joined Dell after the company acquired Wyse.

"Our objective is to put everything together, from server, storage, networking, software and client. We all talk to each other. We're able to deliver a true end-to-end approach not only to the product line, but how we think about it all coming together," McNaught said.

The entry-level client device, the 3000 series, is the first Dell product featuring Intel technology. By plugging it into a monitor, users get high-end virtual desktops running Windows. The 3000 series comes in five versions, each with different ports and connectivity to allow seamless integration into existing environments.

For workstation-caliber machines running Linux, Dell released the Quad-Core 5000 and 7000 series.

The final new client is the 5000 series AIO (All In One), a PCoIP device that uses Dell's Video Redirection Technology to ease the load on the server and on the network. The AiO connects to servers delivering Windows or Linux apps and runs Dell's proprietary ThinOS.

Dell released three new pre-packaged solutions for operating VMware VDI environments incorporating its existing servers. Dell’s new DaaS solution is based on VMware’s technology that came out of VMware’s acquisition of Desktone. Solution providers can run the servers in their own datacenters to offer customers a DaaS service, and enterprises can use them to transform their delivery of computing services inside their own companies, McNaught said.

The Wyse Datacenter for VMware Horizon View delivers a more-affordable, powerful and secure virtual Storage Area Network (SAN). The Wyse Datacenter for VMware Horizon DaaS allows enterprises to deploy Desktop-as-a-Service. Dell also introduced a desktop virtualization appliance for graphic intensive applications.

NEXT: Transition Favors The Channel

McNaught told CRN that Dell's transition to becoming an end-to-end solutions provider has strengthened its ties to the channel, which is Dell's preferred method of going to market with those products.

Paul Neyman, president of Houston, Texas-based Waypoint Business Solutions, an exclusive Dell reseller, told CRN Dell's product line "provides the greatest return for a VDI solution for high-end users."

Neyman said high-end graphics and performance capabilities remain the main barriers for enterprises looking into VDI, and those concerns sometimes hinder projects.

"As we overcome that hurdle with new high-performance graphics and multimedia capabilities, we’ll see more folks moving to VDI," Neyman said.

"Having end-to-end solutions that are easy to deploy and manage is very important for our clients. Additionally, having thin clients with high-performance capabilities will tip the scale for some clients who have traditionally shied away from VDI. The new [Dell] products let our clients in oil and gas exploration pursue their VDI initiatives for their entire client base," Neyman said.

Few vendors provide holistic end-to-end solutions on their own, Neyman said.

"That’s the major advantage of working with Dell and that’s the message we relay to our clients. When you work with a vendor who can provide the whole stack, you get better management and it’s easier to get where you need to be with your IT infrastructure," Neyman said.

The virtual desktop market is undergoing a dramatic take-off, McNaught said. As it reaches maturity, the conversation with potential clients changes.

"We're really starting to shift gears in the way we talk about this," McNaught said. "There's less talk about why you should use virtual desktops. Everyone realizes it delivers tremendous value as far as mobility and security. As we've seen adoption of this technology take off, we're beginning to shift our approach to telling the 'why Dell' story."