Dell wants to rid diskless desktop clients from corporate environments. The company has announced On-Demand Desktop Streaming – server-based software, hardware and services that stream the operating system, applications and data to diskless desktop clients over a Gigabit Ethernet network.
Centralising control of desktops on a single server reduced maintenance and allowed reinvestment of resources in the core business, according to Dell senior vice president Jeff Clarke.
The system would reside on a shared PowerEdge 2950 server, and use the Citrix Provisioning Server software to stream the OS, applications and data to OptiPlex based 745 and 755 desktop clients over a Gigabit Ethernet network. Users could take full advantage of a client's CPU (central processing unit) and graphics processor, providing a full desktop experience with application access and complete multimedia capabilities, Clarke said.
As user and system data resided on central servers, IT departments could have more control over desktops, Clarke explained. That reduced strain related to IT management and security issues, such as viruses and disaster recovery, if hardware failed.
Data in a central resource also made computing flexible as users could access data from anywhere using a desktop client or mobile device.
"This is not a thin client or blade PC," he said, adding that blade systems were single purpose and could not be redeployed.
The ability to control desktops also reduced strains on a company's IT infrastructure, Clarke said: "Deskside IT visits are almost completely eliminated.”
Each virtual server supports up to 100 clients, but change in infrastructure required quite an investment, so the potential audience for such systems was limited, said Toni Duboise, senior analyst at Current Analysis West. Customers looking to change their infrastructure or larger corporations could be willing to give it a try before others take it into consideration, she said.
"There's some logic to have a central source where the IT resources are concentrated," Duboise explained. "We're progressing toward something like this, but it still takes a lot of investment."
Gordon Haff, principal IT adviser at Illuminata, said that most corporations felt comfortable continuing with their existing PC infrastructure but might seek change: "At some people have to sit down and say, 'It's time to change the IT infrastructure.'"
Dell has also introduced an online IT Simplification Self-Assessment tool, which determines the complexity and efficiency of a company's IT environment at different levels.
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