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NComputing Intros Bundled Desktop Virtualization For SMBs

"Office in a Box" packages devices, software, and pre-certified peripherals to encourage desktop replacement for everyday productivity tasks.

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NComputing has launched a desktop virtualization product aimed at reducing fear factors that might hinder mainstream adoption by small and midsize businesses.

The company's newest package -- dubbed "Office in a Box" -- stresses desktop replacement for everyday back-office productivity uses by bundling its virtualization products with standard-issue peripherals. Daniel Raskin, NComputing's head of product marketing, said that doing so is key to addressing the needs of smaller businesses operating with limited IT support.

"We're building solutions that include end-computing technology and third-party technology to just make it really brain-dead simple for people to get desktop virtualization set up in their environments," Raskin said in an interview.

Like other vendors, NComputing has previously found traction in verticals that tend to virtualize to solve industry-specific challenges, such as compliance-conscious healthcare companies or harsh manufacturing environments. With Office in a Box, the vendor hopes to cast a wider net and promote more traditional back-office usage.

NComputing's strategy is in large part tied to simplifying deployments by delivering ready-to-go systems. The company pre-tests and certifies peripherals -- keyboards, mice, monitors, and the like -- to ensure they work smoothly with its systems. That's critical to widespread adoption of desktop virtualization, according to Raskin.

"The bane of all vendors' existence is focusing on, as new peripherals come out and changes happen in software and hardware, pre-validating and ensuring that everything works together," Raskin said. "Although we'd like to say that it's just like a PC and all the peripherals out there will work with desktop virtualization, that just historically has not been the case. That's just a generic problem cutting across all desktop virtualization."

Office in a Box is geared for businesses with between 15 and 100 users, through it can scale for larger branch-office deployments, according to the company. It comes in three primary configurations. The base package includes NComputing's virtual desktops, vSpace software, OS licenses, host server(s), network-attached storage, and basic peripherals. The larger configurations add backup, SAN/LAN storage, desktop failover, and server virtualization infrastructure compatible with VMware, Citrix, and Hyper-V. Pricing varies depending on configuration and size of the deployment.

Another reason behind NComputing's turnkey approach is the fear and other challenges of desktop virtualization that can occur in small businesses. To that end, the company gives away free trial systems to skittish prospective customers.

"If someone's scared about desktop virtualization, or wants to see if it matches the right use case or if it's something they're capable of doing, we'll send them a device and say 'hey, set it up for yourself,'" Raskin said. "It's something that doesn't require significant technology experience to get up and running."

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