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Dell pushes high performance VDI as the next big thing

Jeff McNaught showing off the datacenter at the Dell Solution Center for Reviewers' Day
Jeff McNaught, Dell's chief strategy officer for cloud client computing

Santa Clara, CA – Dell is making a bet on cloud client-computing and plans to approach channel partners to help implement various value-added solutions.

According to Dell executives at its first ever Dell Cloud Client-Computing Reviewers’ Day in Santa Clara, Calif., cloud client-computing is the company’s fastest growing business segment.

At the Reviewers’ Day event Dell showed off what it said was a year’s worth of work on cloud client-computing and desktop virtualization, which included a number of hardware and software products. Depending on the needs of the client, the company said that it has five different ways to virtualize desktops, and would at times defer to channel partners to tailor solutions.

These included the previously-announced Thin Clients and the Wyse Cloud Connect, and the newly-announced 8.5 update of vWorkspace software, all of which aim to remove the guesswork out of setting up a virtual environment and and make it “as simple to deploy VDI as it is to buy a Dell laptop and take it home and start using it,” said Jeff McNaught, executive director of marketing and chief strategy officer of cloud client computing at Dell.

Last month, IDC projected that the virtual client computing market in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) will grow from $805 million in 2013 to $1.18 billion in 2018 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.5 per cent.

Meanwhile, IT research firm Gartner listed the solution as one of several key “New IT Realities.” among its top 10 Strategic Technology Trends predictions for 2015.

“The cloud is where more client computing is going to be conducted in the future,” said Steve Lalla, vice president and general manager of cloud client-computing at Dell.  “The cloud, data explosion and the growth in [the number of screens] forces you to think about the business differently.”

While McNaught said that Dell would be selling these solutions both through the channel and directly, Dell would not be competing with its partners for sales.

“In a lot of other companies, there’d be a tremendous channel conflict between the direct sales force and the channel themselves,” said  McNaught.  “But at Dell here, and specifically with cloud client computing and a few other units, we incent our direct sales people to work with the channel.”

Namely, he explained, Dell will pay 1.2 times the commission when a member of the sales team delivers a deal to the partner, who then closes it.

“This is all to prove that Dell is serious about the channel business,” McNaught said.

Another reason for this, he added, is that local resellers are better suited to the local needs of sectors such as schools, hospitals, retail and the government, all of whom McNaught said could make use of VDI solutions.

While 40 per cent of Dell’s business currently goes through the channel, McNaught said the company is aiming to grow this to 50 per cent.  For now, it is focusing on training and certifying its “hundreds of cloud-client computing channel partners” in competencies that have been revised to be simpler and more optimized.

“The channel is built into everything we do organizationally at Dell, with special emphasis in cloud client computing,” McNaught said.