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VMworld 2008: NEC Virtualizes the Workstation

NEC is seeking to differentiate itself in desktop virtualization. 

CANNES—Denis Gallon, head of virtualization sales for NEC, discussed VPCC (Virtual PC Center) with eWEEK correspondent Arnaud Dimberton.

NEC generates $18 billion in annual revenues, of which it reinvests $5,9 billion in R&D. Wholly dedicated to business to business, NEC is investing massively in virtualization.

Tell us about VPCC.

VPCC is different. We’ve been offering this in the European market since April 2007. We’ve made Virtual PC Center very simple; it’s a package that includes the VMware VDI [Virtual Desktop Interface] with a management console (Sigma System Center) to manage the workstation’s hyperactivity. It’s a single console with a GUI, making it very ergonomic, allowing customers to manage at a granular level. From an administrator’s point of view, everything has to be simple to manage. The focus is on integration, development, and maintenance. We also offer a four or five year SLA [service level agreement] along with our support for every update phase of VMware.

What are the advantages of this approach?

Provisioning, deployment, patching… management of each step is centralized. Our solution is open to everyone—whether HP Openview, IBM Tivoli, etcetera. The terminal is another original approach. You can attach a thin client or a Vista workstation to a virtual machine, often using RDP [remote desktop protocol], which is in my opinion a limited technology.

With increasingly rich interfaces, RDF isn’t enough. For instance, hospitals use video for diagnostics, but images have to be fluid and not over-saturated. The terminal has two brains—a processor and an “on chip” system that manages flows. Those flows (whether graphical, video or sound) are intercepted at the virtual machine level, injected into the network and then decompressed locally. As a result of that, you can upload and download at rates of anywhere from zero to 2 MB, which doesn’t clog up the network.

Can everything be virtualized?

Well, I have to issue a disclaimer because it’s still to early to say that you can virtualize an application like Autocad.

But a workstation is a workstation. E-learning, Flash applications for education, CRM [customer relationship management], all of that works perfectly well, whether running on Vista, XP Pro or Linux, either Ubuntu or Fedora, as needed. The icing on the cake is that we offer VOIP [voice over IP] over SIP protocol with the SoC [system on a chip], which means you can connect a hands-free kit.

How has the market responded to this offer since last April?

VPCC is applicable in every sector. From SMB [small and medium businesses] to enterprises, any company of more than 50 users. Our largest customer as 10,000 machines. We already have 100 projects in the EMEA region. We also have ongoing deployments in Morocco, Hungary and Turkey, countries which don’t have very strong network infrastructures.


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