On the one hand the acquisition of Wyse Technology by Dell can be simply seen as a move to fill out a portfolio products in the data center that complement other recent Dell acquisitions such as Compellent, Force 10 Networks and SonicWall. After all, the thin client and desktop virtualization technologies that Wyse sells are all dependent on services emanating from the data center.
But what’s more potentially interesting about this acquisition is that it comes at a time when interest in all things related to desktop virtualization is on the rise. It’s may be easy to dismiss Wyse Technology and its rivals as providers of thin client technologies that only serve a limited niche market. But IT organizations of all sizes are getting tired of managing traditional desktops. As far as there concerned virtualization creates an opportunity to centralize the management of desktops in a way the sharply reduces costs. There are, of course, multiple approaches to desktop virtualization, all of which seemed destined to gain some level of market acceptance. The acquisition of Wyse, however, gives Dell access to a set of virtualization technologies that not only can be applied to traditional thin clients, but also a bevy of mobile computing devices.
If you take a step back to consider all the flavors of desktop virtualization, it’s becoming clear that way IT organizations think about managing end points is changing. Instead of concentrating on specific machines, the management focus is going to shift to user profiles that exist on top of a virtual machine. This allows the IT organization to manage end points at a higher level of abstraction in an era where users are likely to switch between PCs, tablets and smartphones multiple times a day. The issue facing customers is finding a way to holistically manage all those physical and virtual endpoints using a common management framework.
Dell, of course, already has a Dell KACE unit dedicated to automating systems management. But in the wake of the Wyse acquisition it should come as no surprise if Dell winds up significantly expanding its systems management capabilities in the months ahead.
In the meantime, Greg Davis, vice president and general manager of Dell’s Global Commercial Channel business, says Dell is committed to making this acquisition, which affects some 3,000 Wyse channel partners, as smooth as possible. Of course, some of those partners already have relationships with Dell. Others still may decide to abandon a once independent Wyse because they have strategic relationships with, for example, Hewlett-Packard or IBM. In any event, thin client solution tend to consumer lots of network bandwidth and storage resources so Wyse will at the very least help drive the sale of Dell infrastructure equipment.
But no matter what vendors are involved, desktop virtualization is going main stream. As John Kish, current CEO of Pano Logic, a provider of desktop virtualization systems, and the former CEO of Wyse notes, in terms of expanding the available market for desktop virtualization the acquisition of Wyse by Dell can only be a good thing because there will only be that many more feet on the street talking about desktop virtualization.
But what might be even more interesting in the months ahead is to see if HP, IBM, Cisco or Oracle feel compelled enough by Dell’s move to shore up their own desktop virtualization capabilities by making a few acquisitions ina market category that, for the time being at least, remains highly fragmented.