Dell, HP Laptops Support New Citrix XenClient Virtualization Technology

Dell and HP are rolling out new laptops designed to support Citrix's new XenClient hypervisor technology, which expands the desktop virtualization capabilities in the mobile space. In addition, Dell is growing its services offerings for its Flexible Computing Solutions, and both Dell and HP are unveiling new desktop virtualization reference architectures. The announcements coincide with Citrix's Synergy 2010 show.

Dell and Hewlett-Packard are using Citrix Systems' Synergy 2010 show to roll out new mobile products and services for their respective desktop virtualization initiatives.

The Synergy 2010 conference is running May 12-14 in San Francisco.

Both OEMs are offering support for Citrix's new XenClient hypervisor technology, which is designed to extend Citrix's desktop virtualization capabilities deeper into the mobile space. Dell is working to validate its Latitude laptops and OptiPlex desktops for XenClient. For its part, HP is unveiling two business clients that support XenClient.

They also are growing their services offerings around desktop virtualization.

The May 12 announcements come as the desktop virtualization space continues to see rapid change, according to Charles King, an analyst with Pund-IT Research.

"Initial solutions leveraged technologies like VMware View to centrally support and manage multiple thin clientstyle desktops with data center-based virtualized servers," King said in a May 12 report focusing on Dell's announcements. "But significant changes in the marketplace, including Citrix's 2007 acquisition of XenSource, further enhancements to VMware View and Microsoft's push behind its Hyper-V virtualization technologies have shifted the desktop virtualization playing field."

OEMs such as Dell and HP now are extending desktop virtualization to traditional laptops and desktops.

"But why? To provide organizations a single, highly efficient platform for centrally managing and provisioning all their computers, including laptops used by highly mobile executives and sales personnel, employee PCs and thin clients, and netbook-style devices that are finding homes in both classrooms and businesses," he said.

Dell's new offerings show that the vendor wants to take advantage of all these opportunities, King said.

Dell is looking to become a preferred partner for businesses looking to migrate to a virtualized desktop environment, according to Steven Lalla, vice president and general manager of Dell's Client Product Group. Desktop virtualization has taken off in some businesses-for example, call centers-and now more businesses are looking to make the move.

They also are looking for help in figuring out what to implement and how to do it, Lalla said in an interview.

"More and more customers are continuing to think about how to take this and implement it into the enterprise," he said. "What's important to customers looking to do it is architecting it with a partner."

To that end, Dell, in its Flexible Computing Solutions initiative, is now offering its Managed Virtual Client service as a more comprehensive solution, thanks in large part to Dell's $3.9 billion acquisition of Perot Systems. Dell also is expanding the reach of the service to more countries in Europe.

In addition, Dell's services capabilities now include support for virtualized or streamed application delivery, as well as customized user profiles.

Dell's Virtual Remote Desktop already gives mobile workers using desktop virtualization technology from VMware or Citrix a full desktop-like experience, Lalla said. Now, for environments running Citrix XenDesktop, Dell is offering a reference architecture.

The company also is rolling out new members of its Latitude E-Family laptops-the E4310 ultraportable, and the E5410 and E5510, and the 2110 for business customers. The Latitude 2110 is a follow to the 2100, which was aimed at schools. The 2110 will fill a need for affordable secondary computers for training workstations and laptop users.

Along with the virtualization technology support, the new Dell Latitude E4310, E5410 and E5510 offer the company's new Fast Response Free Fall Sensor and StrikeZone shock absorber to protect data when the devices are dropped, new Core i processors from Intel, and Windows 7 and WiMax support.

The E4310 also offers the capability for instant access to e-mail, calendar, contacts and virtual desktops without having to boot the system.

HP is rolling out its Compaq Elite 8000 desktop and EliteBook 8440p notebook, both of which support Citrix's XenClient technology.

At the same time, HP, the top PC vendor in the world, is unveiling the 4320t mobile thin client and said that its desk-based thin clients now offer expanded multimedia capabilities.

HP also is offering new VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) reference architectures for Citrix's XenDesktop and XenServer technologies that improve the security and ease the management around those environments.