Dell is trying to make centralized Windows desktops easier to implement and manage by porting some existing services to its thin client range. But is running all user desktops from a central server a valid choice for smaller businesses?
Today, Dell bolsters its support for thin clients sold under its Wyse brand, with the launch of a new service portfolio. The package features a deployment support offering for customers tackling virtual desktop integration (VDI), said the firm.
In addition to the deployment support component, the Dell Services and Wyse Thin Clients package also includes ProSupport, a helpdesk service already available for enterprise clients, and an Accidental Damage service that covers the fast repair or replacement of damaged terminals.
The idea is to help take away the headaches associated with getting thin client infrastructures up and running and then keeping them operational. Executives specifically called out VDI as a computing model that they’re hoping to bring within reach of more customers.
The service portfolio will offer planning and project management services, along with the installation of bios and system images onto the Wyse devices. It’s designed as a one-stop shop to get companies up and running with VDI using Wyse terminals.
“The perception today is that implementing VDI is expensive and complex, and this perception is the biggest barrier to VDI adoption. While this may have been the case years ago, it’s simply not true today,” said the firm in a statement.
Opinion is divided on the cost effectiveness of VDI, though. Gartner analyst Mark Lockwood has identified shared storage constraints as one of the main problems associated with VDI. Hyperconverged systems that offer scale-out storage have mitigated this problem a little, as has the broader availability of SSD storage, although storage IO can still be a problem for companies that don’t plan for it properly. Lockwood has also argued that even when CIOs shift to flash memory and hyperconverged systems to flush that bottleneck, other hitherto unseen bottlenecks in computing and networking can emerge.
The problems identified with VDI include capital costs. Gartner has estimated that VDI desktops can result in 20-40% more capital cost than the purchase of traditional PCs. Licensing costs for Windows still appear to penalize small business users opting for VDI. Businesses adopting VDI will also have to contend with server redundancy costs, and back-end management complexity.
In recent years, other options for centralizing desktop support have emerged, including Desktops as a Service (Daas), in which a third party provider hosts the entire back-end infrastructure for a monthly per-seat fee.
The cost of the Wyse terminals themselves ranges from $300 – $700 depending on form factor, according to Dell, which offers traditional desktop thin clients, all-in-one devices, or mobile thin clients.
“With the addition of Dell Services and Support for Wyse Thin Clients, we make it easier for customers to manage and deploy VDI by providing support throughout the product lifecycle and beyond the box to ensure they have the deployment and management services they need to be successful,” Dell concluded.