IBM Targets Midmarket with Virtual Desktop for Smart Business

By Jennifer Lawinski  |  Print this article Print

IBM's new virtual desktop offering, to be sold through the channel, is designed for midmarket customers with lean IT staffs looking to streamline desktop and application management.

IBM launched its Virtual Desktop for Smart Business solution on Monday for providers whose clients want anytime, anywhere secure access to desktops—including from mobile devices such as tablets, notebooks and thin clients.

Virtual Desktop for Smart Business allows users to manage and host Windows or Linux desktops centrally. It can streamline software updates and application deployment.

The solution is based on Verde software from Virtual Bridges and can be deployed on a customer’s infrastructure or can be hosted by a solution provider or MSP. Pricing is usage-based, costing $12.50 per user per month. Users, however, sign 12-month contracts for a total cost of $150 per user per year.

"Virtualization—as you know on the server side—is very big, but there’s not really been a winner of a solution yet at desktop virtualization management," Ron Kline, IBM’s global director of midmarket marketing, told Channel Insider.

IBM is hoping to leverage the channel to make the product a success in the midmarket.

"Our sweet spot is up to 2,500 users, but it certainly will scale larger. We’re promoting it as a strong midmarket solution," Kline said. "It’s extremely affordable from a cost-of-ownership point of view."

It’s also easy to install and self-healing and can be used to push updates out to all users, he said. Midmarket customers with smaller IT staffs can benefit.

"Many of our midsize clients lack the IT resources and time required to manage a traditional PC environment," said Steve Giondomenica, president of Cotati, Calif.-based solution provider Chouinard & Myhre, in a statement. "The virtual desktop is an immediate, powerful and secure solution that reduces complexity and cost—the key adoption barriers in the industry."

IBM tested the product in an early adopter program that the company said "drew strong channel interest," with more than 100 partners giving the company feedback. And IBM has plans to launch other products in the Smart Business product line that will help customers with IT infrastructure improvements and collaboration.

"There will be more solutions to come in this Smart Business family. And the common theme for these solutions is that they’re all going to have this proprietary IBM technology that wraps around them," Kline said. The products will be easy to preconfigure, and downloading patches and security fixes will be controlled through automatic fixes.

"The customer installs it, and it’s already optimized and it will self-configure. It has the backup and the autonomics of passing patches down to the client. That’s actually a pretty cool aspect."