Advantage VDI: Security, mobility, cost management and ease in infrastructure management

Interview Milind Yedkar, General Manager, Asia Pacific & Japan, Cloud Client Computing, Dell
Interview Milind Yedkar, General Manager, Asia Pacific & Japan, Cloud Client Computing, Dell

Milind Yedkar, General Manager, Asia Pacific & Japan, Cloud Client Computing, Dell speaks at length on how VDI is a better option against the current model.  

Please discuss the developments at Dell with regards to the Cloud Client-Computing business ?

There is a separate business unit on cloud client computing in Dell. Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) i.e. desktop virtualisation is the technology that runs behind cloud client computing. In most companies, the cloud client is just considered as any other product. Dell has moved away from being just a product company especially since the last one year post the acquisition of EMC, and VMware included, it has changed the equations of the offerings from Dell. The company now offers end to end solutions- from hardware to software through acquisitions and internal competencies developed over a period of time.

Dell acquired (five years back) a company viz. ‘Wyse’, which holds more patents and IP than all the other companies in the same industry put together. Wyse manufactures thin clients. While Dell, EMC, Vmware and Wyse are all in different sectors of technology, if they are congregated to engineer one solution, Dell stands out as a wholesome IT solutions provider. The company has been trying to focus itself as an all in one solutions provider.

Dell has a Software and Hardware development centre in Bengaluru. It employs 100+ engineers. Software coding and hardware manufacturing is both done under one roof. Most of the development work of VMware happens from the Bengaluru centre. For VMware, the amount of business that India generates is more than China, which is a fast growing economy and competing closely with India.

What is the kind of IT infrastructure you have set up to deliver the product and solution suites ?

When it comes to cloud client computing, it does not come under the context of the cloud business. We dont want to compete with the data viewer of IBM or other similar players. Understanbly, we are not getting into data centres. Our goal is to work with the front end of the customers, support them in setting up work and helping with the transition to set up their private cloud.

We enable customers to optimise their operations unlike the previous generation of data centres, which had separate storage, compute, switches etc. But Dell EMC merge these elements Viz. Hyper Converged Infrastructure (HCI). The benefit: the infrastructure becomes efficient, when it’s software defined.

Why should customers move to VDI completely ?

There are multiple factors. Security, mobility, cost management and ease in infrastructure management.

The data resides on the employee’s computer. In instances similar to the recent spate of ransomware attacks, these individual systems become vulnerable in case if even one of them is left unpatched. This puts not only the business but also the employees at risk.

Second factor, is the security of the intellectual property. So, management of the infrastructure is a task. Desktop Virtualisation provides the flexibility to host the OS on the cloud as patching and maintenance becomes easy. Secondly, the systems are hosted in my data centre, hence thereafter the USB compatibility is taken away. It takes away the risk of information leaking or systems getting infected. Now on, all the information showing on the desktop doesnt reside on the desktop itself but in my datacentre.

Third is mobility. Employees are increasingly moving to mobility devices for delivering services and daily functions. As a result, they want access to the data, on the move. This is the reason, desktop virtualisation is important. Specific industries have implemented VDI, while many are yet to catch up. There might be some hindrances on the way. One of the prominent is the challenge of implementation. The server, storage, network, software, switch, application providers should be in sync, in the absence of which, complexities might arise. A symphony has to be created. But as it happens in most of the cases, there is a lack of coordination between the various providers. Thereby becoming extremely painful for the customer to decipher where the problem lies, in the eventuality of any untoward incident. In that case, an HCI provider becomes a single point of contact as compared to the earlier scenario, where all the different providers have to be contacted separately. We have good relationship with all the providers and can quickly put together a consolidated picture of the likely solution because of us having the access to the source port.

The cost advantage from HCI will be significant. The negotiating capacity is limited, while procuring solutions from multiple vendors will be limited. So the overall price becomes high because. Since we put together all the components in one box, we can engineer the offering as per the requirement and also matching the budget availability.

Hitherto, the servers and storage were managed separately. There were many interdependencies required between the specifications and storage of RAM, application, processor. In order for them to work in tandem. There were challenges in terms of right sizing the solution. However the HCI technology makes everything software enabled. The customer has to buy just one equipment as the capacity works on one specific appliance.

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