Dell vStart Misses a Key Component: It’s Own

On 13 November 2012 by Pete Petersen

dell-vstart-50

Just reviewing Dell’s announcement from back in June of this year about the vStart Cloud offerings. Details can be found in Lucas Mearian‘s InfoWorld write-up, and Timothy Prickett Morgan‘s The Register article.

The Summary

Dell has bundled components together to make a full VDI solution. For example, the vStart 50 includes a PowerEdge 710 server, a PowerConnect switch and optional EqualLogic storage array. This configuration can serve up to 300 users. The vStart 1000 starts with a PowerEdge 710 server or servers, a Force10 switch and Compellent storage. The solution targets private clouds. From another Dell announcement surrounding a partnership with VMware, the definitions are as such:

  • Public – Dell Cloud with VMware vCloud Datacenter Service is an enterprise-class, secure offer of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IAAS) hosted in a secure Dell datacenter. This service provides access to vCPUs, memory, storage networks, IP addresses, firewalls, and catalog capabilities.
  • Private – Utilizing the same expertise, service and technology delivered in its own datacenters, Dell will build private clouds at either our customer’s datacenter or Dell datacenters leveraging VMware offerings including VMware vSphere® and VMware vCloud Director™ as well as Dell’s vStart offering.
  • Hybrid – Dell and VMware provide a single source to substantially simplify the management of customers’ physical and VMware vSphere-based virtual data center infrastructure adding flexibility to customer requirements. Utilizing VMware vCloud Connector, the hybrid cloud solution provides management of on- or off-premise private cloud and Dell’s Public cloud offering.

The solution includes software from both VMware (View) and Citrix (VDI-In-a-Box).

The advantage of this approach is that, as a solution, it is meant to be an all-inclusive, easy-to-implement solution that allows organizations medium and small-ish to get themselves into the VDI game.

Analysis

Although the Quest acquisition announced in June and becoming official in September, the first thing that should become apparent in the solution set–even today–is that this solution lacks an offering that includes Dell’s own VDI product: Quest Desktop Virtualization (fka vWorkspace). In several analyses, vWorkspace targets this exact customer base (300-4000 users). In addition, VDI-In-a-Box, albeit easy to implement, severely limits any future growth or add-on features; and although View is also simple to implement, the PCoIP protocol has yet to mature and effectively serve the client machine across the WAN. vWorkspace is also easy to implement, scales much better than VDI-In-a-Box, and utilizes an optimized version of the Microsoft RDP protocol, which performs rather well over a WAN connection.

In conclusion, a stronger recommendation for organizations of this size (300-4000 users) would be to either seek a hosted solution (such as SolidCloud, or a solution built on Desktone), or build a solution with a trusted partner that utilizes the best of the offerings from VMware, Citrix, and Dell’s Quest. As an example, trusted partners such as Project Leadership Associates have implemented thousands of virtual desktops for customers in all sorts of verticals.

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