IBM has entered the desktop virtualisation market with a product aimed at reducing client management costs for mid-sized companies.
Like other virtual desktop solutions, it does this by centralising desktop provisioning into the datacentre, with user access via a variety of endpoint devices such as tablets, laptops and even smartphones.
Available now, Virtual Desktop for Smart Business allows Windows or Linux desktops to be hosted and managed centrally, facilitating rapid deployment of new applications and reducing the need for help desk requests.
The platform can be deployed on a customer's own infrastructure, or hosted by an IBM reseller partner.
However, the company also plans to offer virtual desktops as a service from its own IBM Cloud in the future, according to Jeff Clark, smart business solutions sales manager for IBM UK.
Virtual Desktop for Smart Business is based on the Verde software from Virtual Bridges, which provides access to user desktops from a variety of endpoint devices, including tablets, netbooks, laptops, thin clients and even Apple iPhones.
In fact, users can access their desktop from almost any device with a web browser, according to Clark.
"As long as the device can connect to the server via a browser, we can deliver the output from the screen to them," he said.
Clark added that IBM chose Verde over more prominent virtual desktop platforms such as VMware View because it is clean and easy to install, and fits with the type of open compute model IBM is driving.
Verde also has distributed connection brokering, which provides greater availability and scalability by avoiding a single point of failure for the system.
Virtual Desktop for Smart Business is aimed at companies of about 100 to 1,000 users, according to IBM, although the problems it addresses are equally applicable to firms of all sizes.
The software costs £102 per user per year, and is sold on a 12-month contract basis, Clark said.
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