Dell EMC's New VDI Solutions Go 'Straight To The Channel,' Forge Tighter Bond With VMware

Dell EMC's Cloud Client Computing division is forging a tighter bond with VMware and putting significant marketing muscle behind an effort to get partners to sell across the IT conglomerate's entire portfolio.

The cloud client division's new VDI Complete Solutions are designed to make app virtualization easier, and more predictable and to give the channel new opportunities in the virtualized desktop space, said division vice president Jeff McNaught. "The VDI Complete partner sells hyper-converged appliances, VMware software, as well as thin clients and PCs. It prevents other partners from coming in and selling individual pieces, and you can do it at a customer location or at your own location," McNaught said.

"The channel can have entirely new conversations with customers who may have wanted this technology but have held off in the past," he said. "The channel completely participates in all opportunities."

Todd Knapp, CEO of Envision Technology Advisors, a Pawtucket, R.I.-based solution provider that works with Dell EMC, and VMware said his company is already in talks with several customers about VDI Complete. Having all the necessary ingredients for a full deployment in a single vendor means VDI is poised to finally realize its full potential, he said. "One of the complaints I have always had was that hardware vendors, VMware and service platform vendors were all silos," Knapp said.

"Storage, compute and virtualization was all its own thing. It can only benefit all of us to have it come together. The hyper-converged infrastructure story happened because all these things needed to come together under one umbrella," Knapp said. "VDI Complete provides a single SKU and a vendor-approved architecture, It's the solution to a very obvious problem. It only took one of the largest acquisitions in the history of IT to make it a reality. Dell has really beefed up their cloud client computing team, and they've done a really awesome job of SKUs-ing this up, far better than other vendors."

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"VDI adoption has been a single-digit growth proposition," Knapp said. "The perception was that it was expensive and complex to architect. To be able to go into the market and say, 'Forget what you've heard. Forget about vendors pointing fingers at each other. This is all one SKU – one point of support.'" "We have the opportunity to see a significant acceleration of adoption, especially in the midmarket -- and low end of the midmarket -- where adoption has been in low single digits."

McNaught said his division is now dedicating nearly all of its marketing activity to leads that "go straight to the channel."

"It's been a major objective since the middle of 2012 to be the easiest company to work with through the channel to plan, deploy and run VDI," McNaught said. "We're building up our marketing people, the right programs, the right rebates, the right incentives. We have a new dedicated sales team to work with VDI integrators. This is a continuation of the relationship with VMware to build out VDI solutions with new benefits for customers, improved performance, scalability and making the cost much more predictable."

The VDI Complete portfolio was rolled out by Dell EMC this week at VMworld in Las Vegas and it includes several VMware Horizon-based VDI options that can be had for between $11 and $36 per user. These can be built as validated solutions on Dell EMC vSAN Ready Nodes or bought as turnkey solutions on Dell EMC VxRail hyper-converged appliances. They can be bought outright, or on a consumption-based plan through Dell Financial Services.

The portfolio also includes new applications options, also based on VMware Horizon app virtualization, vSAN ReadyNodes and VxRail, that range in price from $7 per user to $13 per user and a new Dell Latitude 5280 mobile thin client.

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The VDI solutions are arranged in four categories: The Starter solution is aimed at the SMB space or for proof-of-concept work. The Essentials solution is intended for general desktop and app virtualization for up to 600 users, and is based on a four-node cluster. The Expanded solution is for higher-performance use cases and for up to about 800 users. The Horizon with Graphics solution gives users everything in the Essentials solution and adds graphics capabilities courtesy of Nvidia M10 or M60 graphics cards.

Donald Weaver, president of Fredericksburg, Texas-based solution provider Weaver Technologies, said he expects the new solutions to accelerate his company's already rapid VDI growth. "VMware is on the right path to make things easier for our customers whether they are on thin client or a traditional PC with Horizon apps," Weaver said. "We've already seen tremendous growth in the VDI space with vSAN ReadyNodes and VxRail, so continued growth in capabilities and options is good for our customers and good for us."