Dell targets midmarket Microsoft VDI with Quest vWorkspace

Alyssa Wood

Dell will continue to update and support Quest vWorkspace, but has downgraded the product to a VDI offering for small and medium-sized businesses.

Dell acquired Quest Software

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in July 2012 following its acquisition of thin client provider Wyse Technology to become a one-stop shop for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). Quest customers worried that Dell might stop updating or supporting the vWorkspace desktop virtualization platform.

There is no reason … that vWorkspace shouldn't be in the discussion.

Gabe Knuth,
independent industry analyst and blogger

Customers no longer need to fear Quest vWorkspace going away -- Dell said it is fully invested in the platform, and version 8 was released in May. But Dell will take a very specific tack with it going forward.

In what appears to be a play to keep its partners happy, Dell claims that vWorkspace is mainly for small and medium-sized businesses and midmarket companies that are in the early phases of VDI – in particular, extending Microsoft desktop virtualization environments up to 5,000 virtual desktops, a company spokesperson said.

Dell claims that vWorkspace doesn't compete with VMware View or Citrix XenDesktop because those platforms target a different segment of the VDI market. 

"Our enterprise customers typically prefer a Citrix, Microsoft or VMware solution," said Jeff McNaught, a Dell spokesperson who formerly worked for Wyse Technology. 

However, Quest vWorkspace has long been considered a worthy competitor to VMware Inc.'s and Citrix Systems Inc.'s VDI offerings, and industry experts say that vWorkspace offers more bang for the buck.

That continues to be the case.

"As with all VDI projects, which solution you use boils down to use case, not company size," said Gabe Knuth, independent industry analyst and blogger. "There is no reason, based on company or deployment size alone, that vWorkspace shouldn't be in the discussion."

Industry observers have suspected that Dell would downplay vWorkspace, and that's especially true since Citrix Synergy 2013 in May, when the company released three products optimized for XenDesktop: Desktop Virtualization Solutions (DVS) Enterprise, the Wyse Xenith Pro 2 thin client, and its Active System 800 converged infrastructure offering.

The company will continue to add updates to vWorkspace, specifically focusing on end-user and infrastructure performance and monitoring capabilities in the future.

DVS for Quest vWorkspace

The company still wants to be a one-stop shop for VDI, however. Dell has championed converged infrastructure offerings for desktop virtualization. Its DVS products provide VDI stacks based on either XenDesktop or View, with Dell storage, servers and network switches all rolled in.

Now, Dell has added vWorkspace to the fold. The company recently announced DVS Enterprise for vWorkspace, which includes vWorkspace 8.0 and Dell Wyse thin clients, plus Windows Server 2012 and Hyper-V software and licensing. It also includes the Hyper Deploy feature for virtual machine provisioning, which can deploy 180 desktops in less than 20 minutes, according to a company spokesperson.

Dell chose to base vWorkspace on Microsoft Hyper-V rather than on a VMware hypervisor because Hyper-V allowed for a better virtual machine density, the vendor said.

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