Virtual computing solutions provider Citrix Systems announced a set of products, solutions and programs designed to help small and midsize businesses move from the PC era to the cloud era by capitalizing on the benefits of desktop virtualization. Central to the company's SMB initiative is the release of an all-new version of VDI-in-a-Box, the virtual desktop solution designed specifically for midmarket companies. VDI-in-a-Box 5 is the first Citrix release of this desktop virtualization product following the acquisition of Kaviza in May 2011.
In addition, Citrix announced a solution combining VDI-in-a-Box and the Citrix GoToManage cloud-based support offering, making it possible for managed service providers and IT staff to remotely monitor and support virtual desktop deployments at multiple sites or customer locations. Citrix also announced a channel partner specialization for the Citrix Solution Advisor Program, called SMB Specialist. SMB Specialists, which Citrix will begin certifying in January, will have access to a set of sales tools, free online training and pre-sales support focused specifically on helping them engage and service SMB customers.
VDI-in-a-Box 5 offers the company's HDX technology, supports more than one billion business and consumer devices through the Citrix Receiver software client, and improves high availability capability. Its simplified design eliminates more than 60 percent of traditional enterprise VDI infrastructure - including management servers and shared storage (SANs) - by creating a grid of off-the-shelf servers with direct-attached storage suited for SMB environments.
To help channel partners, managed service providers and IT administrators support SMB customers, GoToManage has new dashboards and alerts, and GoToManage continually tracks health and performance metrics on the physical and virtual infrastructure. Alerts can be configured to provide an "early-warning-system," and with the GoToManage Remote Support module, it is possible to set up and securely access (over the Internet) all VDI-in-a-Box servers from a PC, Mac or iPad.
A key component to the Citrix strategy for SMBs is working with a partner ecosystem to develop validated end-to-end solutions that can be purchased and consumed by customers. The Dell and Citrix VDI-in-a-Box solution, available from Dell, combines Dell-validated server configurations and VDI-in-a-Box software into reference architectures. In addition, cloud client computing specialist Wyse is offering a zero-framework clients for VDI-in-a-Box with special partner promotions.
The SMB initiative also includes support for thousands of Citrix-ready products from leading partners such as Dell and Wyse that will offer validated hardware and software solutions consumed by SMBs. The combination of Citrix VDI-in-a-Box 5, Citrix GoToManage, the support of a Citrix Ready ecosystem, and a new SMB Specialists channel program, are designed to help extend the benefits of "going virtual" at the desktop to tens of thousands of businesses worldwide.
"Small and midsize organizations are increasingly acknowledging the need to streamline their desktop management with VDI, but they are often faced with significant deployment challenges," said Rafael Colorado, director of desktop virtual solutions for Dell. "By combining validated Dell PowerEdge server configurations with Citrix VDI-in-a-Box software, Dell is offering a unique solution in the market for addressing implementation complexity and eliminating capital cost barriers. The combination of Citrix software with Dell hardware makes IT more agile so SMBs can drive strategic initiatives for their organizations."