Dells Overall Strategy: Flexible Computing
Flexible computing, in a nutshell, is Dell's strategy to provide alternative client computing models.
"A trend that we're seeing is an increasing number of client workloads moving back into the data center," Jeremy Ford, Dell senior technology strategist, said. "The lines between the desktop and the data center are beginning to blur. One thing we think is key is to only move the components back into the data center that are most critical-specifically, the data."
In other words, Ford said, "just because you can move compute back into the data center, you shouldn't necessarily do that because of data center [power and space] constraints, and power draw and cooling issues involved. To that end, we've come up with the flexible computing model."
Dell's flexible computing package is strictly network-based and makes good use of desktop virtualization. At the same time, it enables IT staffs to retain full control of data and application management without sacrificing end-user performance or productivity, Dell claimed.
Dell's flexible computing package includes:
- On-Demand Desktop Streaming, for use in data centers only. This was launched
a year ago and is being implemented in the new OptiPlex desktops. The hard
drive is removed from the client device, with the overall image being moved
back into the data center and housed on a partitioned server. The image is then
streamed over a LAN (local area network) to
a diskless client on the desktop, which does have local graphics processing
ability. "As a result of this [design], you don't have the latency that's usually
found in virtual desktops," Ford said. "And the savings in power and
cooling in the data center can be substantial."
- Virtual Remote Desktop. These data center-hosted virtual client desktops can be accessed from a variety of devices-including handhelds-and locations.
- Dedicated Remote Workstation. This is a PC-over-IP product that connects to a Dell Precision R5400 rack-mount workstation in a data center for high-performance users in harsh or highly secure environments.
The OptiPlex desktops, flexible computing package (the Virtual Remote Desktop is available in the United States only) and several new services are available directly from Dell and through the company's PartnerDirect channel partners.