For new Dells, 'virtualization' is as much a weakness as strength

Dell promise amounts to selling generic PCs that work like generic PCs

It should come as a surprise, but doesn't, that Dell is trying to sell its hardware virtually rather than physically. This is the company that jumps on every enterprise-integration/consulting/BPR trend with its own solution set or division, but ends up just selling the hardware, usually after being brought in by the actual professional services group, or winning the deal and subcontracting the professional services to, well, professionals.

In this case it's offering its hardware with Citrix or VMware hypervisors and virtualization management software pre-installed as part of what it calls Dell Desktop Virtualization Solutions, which are intended to make the design and implementation of virtual infrastructures simpler.

As best I can tell this means packaging other people's software for making virtualization simpler in boxes filled with hardware and marked "Dell" on the side.

The core of the package is the Dell Integrated Solution Stack, a set of applications that will apparently provide the drivers and minor integration tweaks, while raising the need to strip unnecessary software off the machine once you get it talking to all the peripherals and management apps you need it to.

Here is Dell's summary:

>" [Dell Integrated Solutions Stack] is designed to accelerate return on investment and solution stability and part of DDVS, the Dell Integrated Solution Stack is a completely configured and tested solution that includes hardware and software as well as Dell Services."

In normal English that means Dell will sell you a package of things it advertises as being pre-configured to be able to find each other, give customers a management console from which to configure them and will mostly work the way it's supposed to.

When it doesn't, it offers extra Dell Services to help via telephone. When it really doesn't work, it offers Dell Services at a premium cost to come to your office and confirm that it doesn't work.

The upshot is that it sells hardware generic enough to not break the integration layers of virtualization products designed too work with any hardware that's relatively standardized and generic.

Far different and more sophisticated than what Dell offered a year or two ago, when the word "virtualization" appeared much less often on the product pages selling what are essentially the same products.

Kevin Fogarty writes about enterprise IT for ITworld. Follow him on Twitter @KevinFogarty.

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