Rounding out what will almost certainly be dubbed "Quest Week 2012," some information has surfaced that indicates that Dell has plans to compete directly with Citrix and VMware in the VDI space by offering an end to end solution. In an article by Bridget Botelho on SearchVirtualDesktop.com, Dell's Jeff McNaught (who came from the Wyse acquisition) was quoted as saying "Customers can look to us as one throat to choke." While that's not necessarily a confirmation that Dell will compete with the other companies, it does reveal that being the one stop shop is the goal.
Strategically speaking, a solution that runs on Dell hardware, storage, clients, networking, and software could be delivered for less money than organizations that source their own separate solutions. With tight reference architectures and ownership of the entire supply chain, Dell could more or less commoditize desktop virtualization to the point where it is a turnkey solution. Each environment is different, and that doesn't mean that VDI or TS will be used company-wide, but it could mean that, when choosing Dell as their lone "throat to choke", organizations can leverage Dell's service, hardware, and software resources to design their environments.
Still, what does this mean for Dell's existing partnerships? They currently have very tight (and presumably profitable) relationships with VMware and Citrix. Dell offers managed services based on XenDesktop, VDI-in-a-Box and VMware View, not to mention agreements that enable you to buy hardware with hypervisors pre-installed. These managed services are relatively new, so what will come of them?
In the short term, I expect business as usual, but in the long term Dell is going to have to weigh out whether or not it is worth competing with the top two companies in the space, and if an end to end offering really has that much appeal. There must be a tremendous value to their relationships with both VMware and Citrix, so are they willing to compromise that in order to go to market with an under-appreciated, but still third place product. Perhaps, though, Dell can give vWorkspace the push we've always thought it could use.
Right as I was getting ready to write about some product updates from Quest, the Dell news rolled in, so while we're writing some more about Quest, I figured I'd add in the product news, too.
In case you missed it, vWorkspace is actually not the name for Quest's desktop virtualization product anymore. Instead, it's now called Quest Workspace Desktop Virtualization, which is actually kind of confusing. I'm referring to it as vWorkspace to eliminate confusion for the time being, but we'll have to switch to that or QWDV or something sometime. This is all part of a general rebranding that Quest is doing after the formation of its Workspace Management business unit, which is intended to group together their solutions that manage migrations to Windows 7, be they physical or virtual. The group, created earlier this year, consists of the following parts:
- Desktop Authority
The idea in the long term is to make these products aware of each other from a planning and automation standpoint. For more information on it, you can read an article I wrote when the Quest Workspace Management business unit was announced.
One of the updates that's come up in the last week or so is the Desktop Authority component. At it's core, it's a user environment management solution intended for use with physical and virtual environments. It's built to extend the management capabilities that are already in solutions like SCCM, Altiris, and LanDesk by adding user environment configurations to them.
I don't want to get too descriptive based on the short briefing I had, but we'll be looking to get our hands on the software or to get a live demo of it soon. BriForum Chicago is in a few weeks, so I imagine we'll be able to take a closer look then.
The other update is that vWorkspace (or Quest Workspace Desktop Virtualization) version 7.6 has been released (while I was on vacation), complete with the new name. In addition to experimental support for Windows 8 and Server 2012 (which includes the new RemoteFX enhancements), they've also added integration with Foglight for Virtual Desktops. Foglight is Quest's version of Citrix Edgesight, which offers monitoring, diagnostic, and root cause analysis features.
Perhaps the most interesting thing to come out of the announcement is the User Workspace Context, which provides more information about the user and their connection. This can be used, say, to tweak bandwidth and latency settings, or to target configurations, applications, and policies. It can also be used from a network access perspective to validate certain required updates, configurations, software or hardware before allowing a user access to their virtual desktop.
At the end of the day, Quest is still putting out updates, so I believe in their mind the vWorkspace (or QWDV) product isn't going away. I hope that's true. In the meantime, no more Quest/Dell articles until we know something more! In the meantime, check out the Quest QWDV blog for deeper dives into the new features.