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VDI product bundles aim to urge adoption by improving customer support

Organizations don't want to go through the headache of involving multiple vendors in their VDI environment, so vendors aim to mitigate this and other negative aspects of VDI.

IT professionals don't like dealing with multiple vendors in one VDI deployment, but VDI product bundles are available to avoid this issue, which could lead to a rise in adoption.

A VDI deployment typically involves multiple vendors, which results in multiple help desk phone numbers to call when issues arise. It also may involve multiple different product licenses and products not being configured to work well together. VDI Complete Solutions, a new offering from Dell EMC, aims to minimize some of those problems by including the software, thin clients and infrastructure all in one bundle.

"It sounds tempting," said James Safonov, former head of IT and information security at City Harvest Inc., a nonprofit in New York and a VMware Horizon View and Dell Wyse customer. "People want that option of calling just one number for troubleshooting."

VDI product bundles help push adoption

City Harvest implemented Cisco HyperFlex hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI) to help run its VDI. By buying consolidated compute, networking and storage, an organization doesn't have to call multiple vendors to resolve an infrastructure issue. The Dell EMC bundle is worth considering, because it follows this same concept, but the organization would have to weigh variables such as cost savings before it could commit to buying it, Safonov said.

Dell EMC VDI Complete, released in May, takes the concept further by including in one bundle HCI appliances from Dell or VMware, VMware Horizon for desktop or app virtualization, and the option of adding Dell Wyse thin clients.

IT buyers can choose between Dell EMC VxRail or VMware vSAN Ready Nodes for their HCI appliance. Because all these products are from one vendor, they are preconfigured to work together, they don't require multiple licenses from different vendors and the organization only needs one help desk number.

The offering is the result of the Dell-EMC acquisition that closed last year -- EMC already had majority ownership of VMware. There are five different bundle options, and they start at $8 per user, per month.

There are many issues that could come up that would make an IT department call a vendor's support line. For example, if users can't connect to their virtual desktop sessions, the IT department may have a tough time figuring out if it's because of an issue with the VDI software, the thin client or the server. By getting all these products from one vendor, they don't have to contact three different vendors. 

Dell can do an end-to-end solution from one company with one throat to choke, and that's the advantage.
Patrick Moorheadpresident and principal analyst of research firm Moor Insights and Strategy

Reducing the need to deal with multiple vendors will help increase VDI adoption, said Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst of research firm Moor Insights and Strategy in Austin, Texas.

"Dell ... can do an end-to-end solution from one company with one throat to choke, and that's the advantage," he said.

VDI Complete does raise some red flags, however, said Robby Hill, founder and CEO of HillSouth, a VMware partner and customer in Florence, S.C.

"They will lock you in," Hill said. "That's what they want. They don't want you to buy a server from [Hewlett Packard Enterprise] or Lenovo."

Hands-on approach

Other vendors, such as Workspot, look to minimize support calls and make both managing and implementing VDI easier by taking a hands-on approach to customer support.

Houston Eye Associates, an ophthalmology clinic in Houston, implemented Workspot's VDI software last year. The vendor sent a technician to the organization's headquarters at no extra cost to spearhead the migration and work alongside the IT department.

"I didn't have to staff up any expert," said Tom Merkle, director of IT at Houston Eye Associates. "When I have an issue, it's like they are another division of my IT department. They give that much attention."

Cisco did the same for City Harvest to set up their HCI hardware, but that is not something all vendors offer.

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