Project Stratus May Signal Future Dell Cloud Ambitions

Michael Vizard
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The days of Wyse Technology as an independent company are coming to a close as Dell formally prepares to acquire the company, and one of the more interesting cloud computing initiatives that Wyse has put in play has come to light.

In a move that could signal the future ambitions of Dell, Wyse Technology has launched a private beta of a new cloud computing service that not only provisions the thin clients that Wyse sells, but also mobile computing devices such as smartphones and tablet devices.

According to Jeff McNaught, chief marketing and strategy officer for Wyse, the service is an attempt to unify the management of Wyse thin client technologies with some of the mobile computing virtualization technologies that Wyse has already developed.

Dubbed Project Stratus, it's not clear that the program will survive the merger with Dell or whether it will be extended to include the management of the PCs in Dell's portfolio. But it's pretty clear that Dell officials knew about the existence of Project Stratus before they moved to acquire Wyse. In fact, Dell has been making significant strides in the area of managed services going back to its acquisition of Everdream and KACE.

What is interesting about this is that interest in thin clients is on the rise in part because as employees rely more on mobile computing devices, they are finding that a thin client suits their needs in the office. Instead of deploying full-blown PCs, thin clients allows IT organizations to give end users a full-blown Windows experience without nearly as much of the management overhead. Dell, of course, has been reselling both Wyse thin clients and its own thin clients for years. But the investment in Wyse suggests that product mix may be starting to shift a little more in the direction of thin clients.

In any of these scenarios, the cost of managing all these devices is clearly starting to have an impact on IT organizations, so don't be too surprised when Dell moves to address that issue in a way that looks like Project Stratus.

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