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Dell expands virtual desktops into the cloud

Dell said this week it is expanding its virtual desktop offerings into the cloud through a partnership with another company.

Dell's Simplified Desktop as a Service (DaaS) is a cloud-based virtual desktop offering targeted at companies of any size. Dell partnered on the offering with Desktone, a company that makes software to access cloud-based desktops. The product is expected to be available at some point this quarter and pricing details have not yet been released.

The cloud-based desktop service adds to Dell's suite of on-site virtual desktop offerings. Dell's DVS (desktop virtualization solutions) Simplified Appliance is aimed at small and midsize businesses and DVS Enterprise is aimed at larger organizations.

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Virtual desktops allow businesses to centrally manage a suite of computers. Terry Vaughn, Dell's director of strategy for the company's desktop virtualization solutions, says typical use cases include in the education setting or for businesses that need to quickly provision new desktops, such as for seasonal or temporary workers.

The new Simplified DaaS offering uses a cloud-based model where the infrastructure is stored in Dell's data centers and is accessed by end users through Desktone software. That's opposed to Dell's existing Simplified Appliance and DVS Enterprise offerings, which are usually installed as on-site appliances using Citrix and VMware software components.

"This is a combination of taking the Desktone platform, which service providers use to deliver cloud-based virtual desktops, and combining that with Dell's expertise in end user services and virtual desktops," says Peter McKay, CEO of Desktone.

The cloud-based virtual desktop works with Windows and Linux operating systems and can be accessed using the Desktone software on a range of devices, including traditional desktops and laptop as well as tablets and smartphones, McKay says. Vaughn says the cloud-based offering can managed either by Dell or by the user and is designed to simplify adding end users to the system.

Dell is not the first company to have leveraged Desktone's platform for accessing virtual desktops through the cloud. McKay said Desktone works with about 15 providers, including NaviSite, a Time Warner Cable Company.

Network World staff writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing and social media. He can be reached at [email protected] and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW.

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