May 26, 2011 (12:05 PM EDT)
Wyse, Kaviza Offer VDI At $99 Per Seat

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Cloud client computing vendor Wyse and desktop virtualization firm Kaviza have partnered to deliver turnkey virtual desktop infrastructure to smaller businesses starting at $99 per seat, the companies announced Thursday.

Jeff McNaught, chief marketing and strategy officer at Wyse, said in an interview that the dual offering is intended to appeal to small and midsize businesses interested in virtualization but concerned about cost and complexity.

"There is a huge opportunity in the [SMB] space for virtualization, but quite frankly these guys are terrified of the existing enterprise options," said McNaught, who was attending the Citrix Synergy conference. "Wyse partnered with Kaviza to really go after this market that has expressed tremendous interest in moving from Terminal Services and simpler technologies, but wanted something priced and featured appropriately."

Wyse-Kaviza EZ VDI will offer three options. The first combines Kaviza's VDI-in-a-box with Wyse's PC Extender software to enable companies to repurpose existing PCs rather than purchase new hardware; it's priced at $99 per seat on a perpetual license.

A second tier will package 10 Wyse T50 thin clients with Kaviza's VDI platform; at launch, the hardware bundle will be sold exclusively via Ingram Micro for $2,290, plus $229 per seat. The third option combines 10 Wyse C10LE thin clients--sold by Ingram Micro for $3,290--with a version of Kaviza's VDI-in-a-box that includes built-in Citrix HDX. The companies are touting the integrated Citrix HDX technology for improved multimedia displays, USB support, and multimonitor performance. Perpetual licenses for the top EZ VDI tier run $329 per seat.

"We really wanted to build a good-better-best set of options for SMBs so that they could decide what was best for them, rather than us trying to shove a one-size-fits-all approach down their throats," McNaught said.

Kaviza was acquired by Citrix on Monday. McNaught said the acquisition had no significant impact on the Wyse-Kaviza partnership other than timing and wider distribution for EZ VDI. The companies said that Citrix Solutions Advisors would begin selling the bundle July 1.

"We did it with the full knowledge of what was happening with Kaviza," McNaught said. "Our timing was done to just follow the acquisition announcement so that there wasn't confusion in the marketplace as to whether the acquisition would limit the ability for something this aggressive."

While the EZ VDI bundle is generally intended for companies with up to 250 employees, it can scale into the midsize-company range. "In reality, this solution can support well over 500 people," McNaught said. "There's no licensing or technological restrictions that would prevent it from going even higher than that, but at some point [larger businesses] begin to need the features that are in the more enterprise-oriented products."

With more vendors specifically addressing SMB needs and the cost and complexity dominoes falling, virtualization adoption appears poised to increase inside smaller companies. McNaught thinks that as the trend continues, SMBs will begin to realize competitive advantages. Among them: the potential for virtualization to help companies securely embrace consumerization.

"One of the most important benefits is being able to support a bring-your-own-technology approach," McNaught said, noting the increasing variety of smartphone and tablet models hitting the market. IT departments can either take a labor-intensive client-side approach to security--or no approach to security--or, McNaught said, they can deploy virtualization. "The only way to deliver secure business data to those sorts of devices is through virtualization."

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