​Dell targets SMBs with new virtualisation suite

The technology giant has announced a new appliance, thin client, and software solutions for its desktop virtualisation suite.

Dell's cloud computing arm has launched a handful of new products across its desktop virtualisation suite, aimed at making it easier for customers to deploy, configure, and manage virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) while heading down the digital transformation path.

With a string of announcements already made at Dell EMC World in May, the company has expanded on four new products. The first, the Dell EMC XC Xpress for VDI appliance, now allows small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to deploy and manage a Nutanix-based environment.

The appliance combines server and storage infrastructure, virtualisation software, and cloud back-up.

Speaking with ZDNet ahead of the launch, Jeff McNaught, VP of Cloud Client-Computing at Dell, said the company realised it had the opportunity to meet the needs of smaller organisations, having previously targeted larger ones with a headcount heading into the thousands.

"Historically, VDI and desktop virtualisation has been considered a complicated space, and only the biggest companies who are most focused on security have deployed it to date," McNaught said.

"We realised we had an opportunity to meet the needs of smaller companies who wanted the same level of capability ... but couldn't afford the larger system."

Available on July 20, 2017, the new SMB-targeted product is priced per-seat at $100 -- for companies with 100 to 500 people -- and allows for organisations to start with a three-node configuration and scale up to four nodes by adding more appliances. It also supports hypervisor and brokering technology from Citrix, Microsoft, and VMware, Dell said.

McNaught said the product fills the gap within Dell Technologies.

Also announced was the Latitude 3480 mobile thin client, based on Windows 10 IOTE, which also includes the latest version of its virus-resistant thin client operating system, ThinOS 8.4 -- also announced on Thursday -- which now boasts support for VMware Blast Extreme Protocol, and the new Wyse Management Suite software.

The Dell Latitude 3480 mobile thin client is available July 19, 2017, with a starting price of $799.

Available already, ThinOS 8.4 also now supports the latest Citrix HDX RealTime optimisation pack 2.2, as well as support for HTML5 video redirection to control and optimise the way XenApp and XenDesktop servers deliver HTML5 multimedia web content.

ThinOS 8.4 also supports 4K video output with support for QUMU Multicasting, and support for Bluetooth 4.0. It additionally received security updates, including firmware signature verification by default on firmware upgrades and downgrades, and support for a simplified certificate enrolment protocol to support secure issuance of certificates to trusted network devices.

Dell recently announced its Wyse Management Suite aimed at allowing organisations to configure, monitor, manage, and optimise Wyse thin client deployments.

The Wyse Management Suite Standard is a free, on-premises tool for up to 10,000 endpoints, with the Pro version -- priced at $20 per seat -- required thereafter.

With the Pro solution, McNaught said organisations can also adopt a hybrid model and "float" its licences between on-premises and cloud management.

Current Wyse Device Manager customers will be required to transition to Wyse Management Suite later this year, the company said.

McNaught spent 25 years with Wyse Technology, before it was scooped up by Dell in 2012 and became Dell Cloud Client computing.

The VP said some of the enterprise giant's largest consumers of VDI hail from the education sector, where thwarting cyberbullying and preventing test score manipulation are some of its main focus areas; healthcare, where organisations are focused on protecting electronic medical records; and local governments, banks, and retailers that are looking to protect credit card and other personally identifiable information.

McNaught told ZDNet that the technology's adoption in such highly regulated industries is essentially because they want the flexibility that he said comes along with it.

"Work was a place you went; now, work is an activity," he said.

"We make it possible for organisations, instead of putting all that software on a device that becomes your only way to get work done, our customers put all that software on their server, and then they use those servers to deliver those applications."

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