Dell Brings Down the Cost of Small Business VDI

By Pedro Hernandez | Posted May 23, 2013

Dell is setting out to put the IT management efficiencies of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) within easier reach of small and midsized businesses (SMB).

The company rolled out new pre-integrated VDI products that not only make it easier for businesses to deploy Citrix XenDesktop 7, but to also slash costs. The big money saver, called Dell Desktop Virtualization Solutions (DVS) Enterprise Integrated Storage, is "the first solution that doesn't require shared storage," according to Chris Bell, solutions manager of Dell DVS Citrix Solutions.

Desktop Virtualization for Small Business

The integrated storage configuration of DVS Enterprise consists of Citrix XenDesktop 7 software, which features expanded application support, wizard driven configuration and improved mobile support and management capabilities.

New template options and automation features help administrators quickly set up users with their application environments according to their role, department or function within an organization. A Dell PowerEdge R720 rackmount server provides the computing power and local storage rather than more expensive blade server implementations.

The DVS Enterprise Integrated Storage solution provides small businesses with a VDI platform that supports a healthy number of users to start and grows if their organizations take off. According to Dell, a starter deployment supports up to 90 users and can scale to support thousands.

Perhaps more compelling fact: the DVS Enterprise Integrated Storage is plainly more affordable. Whereas the "previous generation cost $400 per user," said Bell, this new offering costs less than half of its predecessor. The new price tag: $192 per user.

In a Direct2Dell blog post, Bell laid out his company's case.

"Small and medium businesses that would benefit from the flexibility of desktop virtualization may be deterred from implementing a virtual desktop environment because of the perceived high upfront cost. Dell's Integrated Storage solution enables growing businesses to scale their virtual desktop adoption as they add users and upgrade as their needs grow," Bell wrote.

Bell added that the product makes it easier for midsized and larger organizations in government, finance or healthcare to pilot VDI programs without spending a fortune upfront.

Also new is DVS Enterprise with NVIDIA GRID. Aimed at creative agencies and businesses that require computer aided visuals and complex 3D—tasks typically relegated to pricey graphics workstations—this offering lets businesses leverage GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) virtualization to deliver high performance 3D graphics and visualization workloads. As a bonus, shops can provide secure, centrally managed access to assets and contain costs by delivering graphically intensive applications to practically any device.

Additionally, Dell unveiled new unified communications solutions based on Microsoft Lync 2010, enabling voice calling and video teleconferencing, "which you couldn't do before within VDI," said Bell.

Finally, Dell revealed three new Wyse thin clients.  The company's first dual-core zero client, Dell Wyse Xenith Pro 2, provides 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi connectivity, 1080P HD video delivery and support for dual displays for Citrix environments. The new Dell Wyse D90Q7 and Z90Q7 are quad-core, Windows Embedded-based thin clients that support VDI setups from Citrix, Dell, Microsoft and VMware.

Dell DVS Enterprise solutions are available now in the U.S., U.K., France, Netherlands and Germany, but support for Citrix XenDesktop 5.6 FP1. XenDesktop 7 support is planned for later in the current quarter. The Dell Wyse Xenith Pro 2 launches worldwide in late July for $399. Dell Wyse D90Q7 and Z90Q7 is scheduled for an early July 2013 release in the U.S. and Europe.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Small Business Computing and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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