Citrix and Dell Partner with VDI appliance

On 23 November 2012 by Pete Petersen


When first hearing about the Citrix/Dell partnership, it strongly reminds of an earlier day when Cisco and EMC, with investments from VMware and Intel, partnered up with VCE and produced the vBlock–the faster way to deploy a data center. Look at the Citrix press release and some of the Dell materials on vStart for more details on the announcement and product.

So now, Citrix and Dell have gotten together.

Citrix’s VDI-in-a-Box by itself is a stripped-down version of Citrix XenDesktop, very wizard-driven, simple to set up, and simple to maintain. Much rejoicing as administrators of small deployments have an easy entry path–or so it appears. Remember that you’re roping yourself into a very limited deployment with few options. There is a place for that, but organizations need to go in with their eyes open. For example, VDI-in-a-Box has the following limitations:

  • No external access (Secure/Access Gateway)
  • No Provisioning Services (Machine Creation Services only)
  • Boot storms create I/O issue
  • ~50 VMs per host (Dom0 bottleneck)
  • Does not support streaming applications or integrate with App-V
  • Citrix Profile Management (CPM) not included (need 3rd-party)
  • No shared hosted desktops (i.e.: XenApp)

With these known limitations, VDI-in-a-Box could fit in environments with less than 500 users.

Now, combine that with Dell’s hardware, and you virtually end up with an appliance that can be dropped into any data center, turned on, setup (with integration into the organization’s directory), and you’re off to the races.

As I said, this is great news for smaller organizations. This means that although the software and hardware costs are not reduced, the setup and maintenance costs of a VDI deployment have been radically reduced. For years, one of the great barriers to entry in any Citrix XenApp or XenDesktop deployment is the steep learning curve. VDI-in-a-Box installed as an appliance helps alleviate that barrier enormously.

While it is appreciated that Dell and Citrix have partnered–and they should continue down this road–it is still baffling why Dell’s newly-purchase product, Quest vWorkspace, is nowhere in Dell’s marketing language yet. As was mentioned in two previous posts, Quest vWorkspace Returns, and Dell vStart Misses a Key Component: It’s Own, one must wonder when Dell will properly market the great find.

vWorkspace is so much better suited for small and medium environments (1000 users or less). It is also easy to deploy, is wizard-drive, and comes with a much more shallow learning curve, as does VDI-in-a-Box, but does not come with any of the above limitations–and is less expensive.