ORLANDO, Fla.—At the Citrix Synergy Conference here, Dell announced new virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) offerings aimed at small and midsize businesses (SMBs) that have largely stayed on the thin-client sidelines due to cost and deployment concerns.
The Round Rock, Texas-based server and PC maker's SMB VDI slate includes the new Dell Appliance for Wyse-Citrix. "It's really for those companies who've heard about the security and control and efficiency advantages of VDI, but figured they couldn't play in the game because it's going to be too expensive or too complex," Dan O'Farrell, senior director of product marketing for Dell, told eWEEK.
"We believe now that VDI is ready for prime time," he continued. "It's not just the big corporations with the big IT staffs and the giant data centers anymore. You have smaller companies that don't necessarily have a savvy IT organization can now get the same security, control, lessening of IT burden and efficiency gains."
Set to be released this summer, Dell Appliance for Wyse-Citrix will be available in two configurations and two form factors, a rack-mount unit or PC-like tower. Based on Dell PowerEdge R730 server hardware, the bundled solution allows organizations to set up a Citrix XenDesktop VDI environment for up to 200 users, minus the know-how or administrator involvement typically required to deliver virtual desktops.
"The experience level that we've designed this product for is the person in the company who basically configures PCs. They don't have to be a VDI expert," said O'Farrell. Normally, it can take more than 100 steps to configure a virtual desktop environment, he noted. "Now you follow a five-step process with a wizard and you're off and running," he added.
Dell took much the guesswork out of capacity planning as well, said O'Farrell. "We're prescribing it for certain types of users and certain numbers of users, either 150 dedicated knowledge workers or 150 shared-task workers and it's nailed up for you." And while Dell Appliance for Wyse-Citrix pairs seamlessly with Wyse Xenith thin clients, it supports all types of PCs and devices that are capable of running Citrix's Receiver client software, O'Farrell said.
"The Dell Appliance for Wyse-Citrix is built to leverage the strengths of Citrix XenDesktop in a package suitable for smaller organizations that lack the resources of a large enterprise," Calvin Hsu, vice president of product marketing for Windows App Delivery at Citrix, said in a statement. "With this purpose-built appliance, small and medium-sized organizations can more quickly deploy and manage virtualized Windows desktops and apps and reap security, performance and experience benefits that XenDesktop delivers."
Beyond the initial deployment experience, Dell is banking on ease of management and sheer time savings to bring more SMBs into the VDI fold. "To patch, say 200 laptops, it's as simple as a drag-and-drop in one place as opposed to physically updating 200 laptops," which could easily monopolize an SMB IT professional's day, if not longer.