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Agile Computing Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Dana Gardner, Andy Thurai

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Dell Retail Announces Comprehensive Solution to Help Retailers Move to the Cloud

Dell today unveiled Cloud Client Computing for Retail, its first end-to-end cloud solution specifically designed to enable retailers to seamlessly move to an in-store cloud environment.

The comprehensive offering addresses endpoint devices, networking, security, virtualization, infrastructure, management tools and services to help retailers realize cloud-related benefits such as increased efficiency and cost savings in a Dell-designed Cloud Client Computing solution that is customizable to each retailer’s unique environment and needs. The solution allows retailers to simplify store system hardware by hosting and managing complex point-of-sale (POS) and inventory systems centrally in the store or in the cloud. Dell can handle every aspect of the transition, eliminating the time-consuming and costly process of piecing together products and services from various vendors, as many retailers do currently.

“Until now, most retailers have had to cobble together products and services from multiple vendors in order to address cloud solutions and virtualization in their store environment,” said Mike Adams, retail industry practice lead at Dell. “As a result of our recent acquisitions that include Wyse, SonicWALL and Quest, Dell is able to provide an end-to-end solution that has been tested and optimized for retail’s unique environment. Cloud Client Computing for Retail delivers a reliable, cost-effective, end-to-end solution that can allow access to any application from any device.”

According to Maintaining the Competitive Edge in the New Era of Anywhere, Any Time Retail, a recent Dell Wyse white paper, “More and more retail organizations are seeing the value of using a cloud computing or virtualized environment to reduce operating expenses, increase data security, and reduce power requirements… Until now, however, retailers considering virtualization would have to omit point-of-sale (POS) systems from the strategy as no major provider offered a cloud or virtualization-ready POS system that can run today’s advanced POS applications.”

This solution addresses retailers’ needs to make their IT operations as efficient, agile and seamless as possible to remain competitive. Dell’s own Retail Customer Advisory Council has emphasized that retailers are scrambling for ways to keep up with the changing retail environment. With smartphones in hand, connected consumers have instant access to pricing and product information, are able to tap their social networks for recommendations and purchase from competitors on the sales floor. Consumers expect a seamless experience across channels, to be recognized and rewarded and to engage with store personnel that are knowledgeable about products and offers.

With retailers facing these challenges related to mobility, security, flexibility, support and cost, Dell’s cloud client computing solution hits directly on the unique needs of the retail market. Specifically, the solution can:

  • allow retailers to access any application or content from any device;
  • increase device reliability while decreasing cost;
  • eliminate the risky need to store data on endpoint devices, greatly increasing security;
  • support a test-once-deploy-to-many-devices model;
  • allow retailers to seamlessly repurpose endpoint devices for POS, kiosks, customer service or the back office; and,
  • allow for the quick replacement of endpoints without the need for imaging or staging.

The new offering is made up of three modules:

1) Thin and mobile endpoints with and without POS peripherals;

2) On premise desktop virtualization infrastructure; and,

3) Cloud based desktop virtualization infrastructure.

To provide retailers with a comprehensive virtualization solution best suited to their business needs, the reference architecture provides sizing guidance and configuration recommendations based on rigorously tested and optimized:

The solution is also tested and validated to work with the leading retail POS applications and best of breed POS peripherals.

Dell’s Cloud Client Computing portfolio includes the broadest end-to-end Desktop Virtualization Solutions including on or off-premise infrastructure, thin clients, software and services that enable organizations to provide any user with access to any application from any device, securely and efficiently. The portfolio offers all the components from the datacenter to the desktop, with both on-premise and hosted infrastructure solutions, services and software as well as device management services from the cloud.

This portfolio inclusive of Dell Wyse technology presents many benefits to retailers, including the simplification of new store set up. “We no longer need to send our technicians out to do the initial set up of the stores,” said Dell Cloud Client Computing customer Paul Dinoia, VP of IT at Bob’s Discount Furniture. “The more Dell Wyse thin clients we have, the fewer devices we need to touch; which helps us maintain the consistency and integrity of our systems with existing staff, even though we’re supporting more users…We really don’t need to do much with our Dell Wyse thin clients. We can keep all software up to date easily.”

Availability

Dell Retail is currently accepting proof-of-concept requests for the Cloud Client Computing for Retail solution.

The full solution will be released in three phases:

  • March 4, 2013: POS, kiosk and back office systems to be supported with on-premise or retailer-hosted cloud infrastructure
  • Summer 2013: Additional store systems to be supported including digital signage and surveillance hardware
  • Fall 2013: Option available for store systems to be supported by Dell-hosted cloud infrastructure

Additional information:

About Dell

Dell Inc. (NASDAQ: DELL) listens to customers and delivers innovative technology and services that give them the power to do more. For more information, visit www.dell.com.

Dell, PowerEdge, PowerVault, PowerConnect, Dell SonicWALL, Dell Quest and Dell Wyse OptiPlex and Latitude are trademarks of Dell Inc. Dell disclaims any proprietary interest in the marks and names of others.

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