Dell, EMC, Cisco Tackle BYOD With Desktop Virtualization

What is interesting about Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) efforts is that they are more effectively driving thin client solutions than the thin client movement itself did a decade or so ago. This is because the variety of devices, combined with the lack of focus on business requirements by Apple, has made it untenable to support each device individually.

As a result, IT departments are aggressively exploring alternatives that provide the experience users want on their devices-largely iPads, iPhones and Android smartphones-without causing support organizations to implode. The leading contenders are virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and desktop virtualization.

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A lot of vendors were chasing this opportunity at VMworld 2012. Let’s look at the different approaches from Dell and the partnership between Cisco Systems and EMC.

Cisco, EMC Focus on Low Latency

The Cisco/EMC/VMware collaboration known as the Virtual Computing Environment (VCE) is one of the more interesting initiatives currently in market because it showcases strong technology and a unique partnering method.

VCE was designed as a way to get the benefits of a firm such as IBM or HP without the self-limitations, internal conflicts and bureaucracy a large umbrella organization brings with it. Most partnerships are little more than press events and don’t weather the test of time. The VCE partnership is far different-the company even has its own CEO.

This relationship was leveraged to create a unique VDI solution in which EMC developed optimized storage products and tied them to Cisco’s already optimized servers. Cisco came late to the party but added the perspective of a communications vendor. Unlike most servers, which are optimized for raw performance, Cisco’s are optimized to minimize latency. This is critical for the VCE platform’s unified communications goals.

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It just so happens that virtualized desktops need low latency, too. In this case, it’s to provide the user experience demanded by the market. The end result is a near-perfect storm of storage and servers, all made possible by a unique partnership. I talked to EMC and Cisco about their VDI offering a couple of weeks ago; the video is available here. Overall, the solution seems well positioned to addresses the BYOD trend.

Dell Taking End-to-End Approach

While EMC leads in partnerships, Dell leads in the more traditional, end-to-end approach of acquisitions. In addition, because Dell is a desktop vendor, it recognizes that a critical shortcoming of thin client solutions, such as the old Sun Ray 1, is inadequate graphics performance.

This strategy is wrapped with Dell services, through its acquisition of Perot Systems, and has within it a variety of management layers provided by various other Dell acquisitions. Collectively, Dell better addresses the more traditional areas for thin clients-call centers, shared employees or guest use-because the whole package has been designed with the familiar fixed-client architecture in mind.

As a result, Dell has developed a layered solution that includes zero clients from its recent Wyse Technology acquisition-zero clients, unlike thin clients, don’t run any native code-as well as servers that use NVIDIA graphics components to pump up the client-side graphics performance. Dell has also shifted its focus at a corporate level to the midmarket, where larger firms have historically suffered. Overall, its solution offers advantages in its end-to-end coverage and midmarket focus.

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Add to this Dell’s lines of traditional PCs-the company is making a big Windows 8 splash-and Dell is richer than most companies. It offers a depth of graphics performance and a breadth of clients for companies making the transition between traditional desktops and virtualized desktops. Supporting Apple products likely won’t be a leading strength, given that Apple and Dell are competitors, so Dell will probably position its Windows 8 tablets against iPads for its recommended deployments.

Consider Both Desktop Virtualization Approaches

Each strategy has distinct strengths and weaknesses. The EMC/Cisco approach should do better with larger companies and/or a large variety of client types, particularly iPads, which must be accounted for. Dell, on the other hand, should be better in the midmarket and in environments that are trying for thin client consistency, particularly around Windows-after all, Dell’s Windows 8 skills should be unmatched. However, both are capable of stretching to embrace aspects of the other. Dell could support iPads, and EMC/Cisco should be able to work with traditional PCs.

When you define and a solution and put it out to bid, both choices are worth considering. They are relatively mature yet different enough to showcase your own unique needs and, perhaps, help you focus on what you really need.

In the end, what makes this interesting is the Apple is driving an initiative-desktop virtualization-that it doesn’t even provide. There is some irony in that.

Rob Enderle is president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group. Previously, he was the Senior Research Fellow for Forrester Research and the Giga Information Group. Prior to that he worked for IBM and held positions in Internal Audit, Competitive Analysis, Marketing, Finance and Security. Currently, Enderle writes on emerging technology, security and Linux for a variety of publications and appears on national news TV shows that include CNBC, FOX, Bloomberg and NPR.

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Read more about desktop virtualization in CIO’s Desktop Virtualization Drilldown.

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Japan court rejects Apple patent claims against Samsung

TOKYO (AFP) – A Japanese court Friday rejected Apple’s claim that Samsung stole its technology, dealing a blow to the iPhone maker which last week won more than $1 billion in damages in the US from its bitter rival.

The ruling by the Tokyo District Court is the latest chapter in a long-running global patent war between the smartphone giants which have accused each other of stealing intellectual property for their own products.

The Japanese court found that the South Korean firm did not infringe Apple’s iPhone and iPad patents for some of its own Galaxy smartphones and tablet computer. The three-judge panel also awarded legal costs to Samsung.

“The defendant’s products do not seem like they used the same technology as the plaintiff’s products so we turn down the complaints made by (Apple),” Judge Tamotsu Shoji told the court.

Apple had sought damages and to block sales of some Samsung products in Japan, where both firms have seen their popularity rise in a market traditionally dominated by domestic giants such as Sharp and Sony.

As well as dealing a blow to the US firm, the ruling will help Samsung pick itself up after the defeat in the United States, analysts said.

Samsung shares closed 1.48 percent higher in Seoul on Friday.

“Investors were encouraged by the ruling in Tokyo… it eased concern over Samsung’s future which had been raised by the defeat in the US court battle,” said Seo Won-Seok, analyst at Korea Investment Securities.

Samsung, which has steadfastly denied its rival’s claims in a string of similar cases filed across the globe, hailed the Tokyo court’s ruling.

“We welcome the court’s decision, which confirmed our long-held position that our products do not infringe Apple’s intellectual property,” it said in a statement.

A Japan-based spokesman for Apple, which can appeal the verdict, declined to comment.

Last week the iPhone maker won $1.05 billion in a massive US court victory over Samsung with jurors finding that the South Korean firm had “willfully” infringed on Apple’s patents.

The Japanese case, which focused on Apple’s claim that Samsung stole technology used to transfer music and video files, sought a comparatively small amount — 100 million yen ($1.27 million) — in damages.

“It was a ruling on just one technology so it is difficult to draw any conclusion on its overall impact,” said Michiru Takahashi, a patent lawyer at Jones Day in Tokyo.

“But… if Samsung had lost again it would have considerably hurt its image.”

Samsung and Apple are reportedly fighting patent cases in at least 10 countries.

The high-profile verdict in the United States last week regarded patents on a range of Samsung products including some of its popular smartphones and its Galaxy 10 tablet.

Jurors rejected the South Korean electronics firm’s patent theft counterclaims against Apple.

Also last week, a court in Seoul ruled the pair swiped each other’s technology, ordering Apple to pay damages of 40 million won ($35,000) while saying Samsung must pay its rival 25 million won for violating one of Apple’s patents.

Each company had sought damages of 100 million won.

The South Korean court said there was “no possibility” that consumers would confuse Samsung and Apple smartphones — a key issue in the US trial — and that Samsung’s smartphone icons do not infringe Apple’s patents.

But it said Samsung infringed Apple’s patent for bounce-back technology, a widely copied spring-back action when users reach the edge of a document.

The court imposed a partial ban on both firms’ product sales.

The patent cases come as Apple loses ground to rivals including Samsung that use the Android operating system developed by Google.

Samsung shipped 50.2 million smartphones globally between April and June, while Apple sold 26 million iPhones, according to research firm IDC.

The Asian firm held 32.6 percent market share compared to 16.9 percent for Apple, which has a roughly 70-percent share of the global tablet market. Read story

Men slam violence against women in Fathers’ Day White Ribbon campaign

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Clint Newton speaks about his violent past

In the run up to Fathers’ Day, PR agency Weber Shandwick has launched a campaign for not-for-profit organisation White Ribbon, asking Australians to take a stand against violence towards women.

Created in-house, the online ad features three men including NRL player Clint Newton speaking about their own personal experience with violence.   

The video is supported by social media, and an online manifesto that lists six steps men can take to prevent male-led violence toward women.

Andrew O’Keefe, White Ribbon chairman said: “…This means more than being non-violent. It involves re-shaping ideas about fathering, and about what it means to be a man, and actively promoting gender equality and respectful relationships with women.”

The manifesto:

Men slam violence against women in Fathers Day White Ribbon campaign White Ribbon MANifesto 1 468x597

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New federal law, management capabilities get trucking company to buy into Android smartphones

Wiseway Transportation Services, which specializes in long-range delivery of furniture shipments, is giving its drivers Motorola Droid Razr smartphones for one main reason: to make sure the company doesn’t run afoul of federal laws related to commercial driver cell phone safety.

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“I just put it out in the field yesterday,” says Steven McKenna, director of information technology at Hudson, Wis.-based Wiseway, about the Motorola Droid Razr smartphones dispensed to about 20 drivers operating the long-haul tractor trailers. It’s not that the drivers didn’t like the rugged Nextel push-to-talk phones they carried in the truck cabs. The issue is that the Department of Transportation’s new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rules this year would make it necessary for truckers to pull over to the side of the road to use a cell phone.

McKenna said he found a way to accommodate the safety rules by using the Motorola Droid Razr because it has an app for hands-free voice-activation of calls and a speakerphone, so drivers don’t have to pull over on the side of the road just to make a call.

“It takes voice commands as long as you speak clearly,” says McKenna, who spent a lot of time testing how well this would work. The company keeps track of where its drivers are through GPS. One issue that was important to McKenna is locking down the corporate-issued Android smartphone so apps and e-mail are limited to what the company finds appropriate for business. It’s using Clutch Mobile’s software for that lockdown capability on Android.

“It’s got a great administrative interface,” McKenna says. “I can log in and see the GPS coordinates, and I can wipe the data if the phone is lost or stolen.”

Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG publication and website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security. Twitter: MessmerE. E-mail: emessmer@nww.com.

Read more about anti-malware in Network World’s Anti-malware section.

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