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Who loves office space? Dell does: Virtualization to banish workstations from under desks

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And then there's the benefit of allowing multiple devices – from executives' tablets and consultants' laptops to company PCs running digital projectors in sales suites – to have timely access to the latest versions of the projects being worked on by engineers and content creators. Those comparatively low-powered devices, of course, don't have the oomph to render complex projects, but they certainly have the capability to display pre-rendered models or view edited video.

Finally, there's the matter of workflow optimization. As Rhodes noted in so many words, if you're a content creator who's waiting for a CGI effect to render, you're not a content creator anymore – you're just a lump taking up space. If, however, you can switch over to another workstation VM, your productivity doesn't stall.

Or, for example, distributed workloads can run simulations in parallel rather than sequentially. As Autodesk senior software architect Ben Cochran, also speaking at the Wednesday event, suggested as an extreme business case, sometimes it's preferable to use 10,000 computers for one second rather than one computer for 10,000 seconds – and if the up-front investment has been made, the runtime cost is a wash.

And that's where Roche's comment on dollars and cents comes into play. The more productive each worker can be, and the swifter that a task, rendering, or simulation set can run, the more time can be saved. And as we all know, time == money.

Come for the barbecue, stay for the engineering talk

And that's what the new Dell Workstation Virtualization Center for Excellence is all about, Roche said. Before investing a shedload of cash in a virtualized workstation setup, a customer can use the center to test its workloads in different configurations – and the center includes a large number of different setups upon which to test those workloads, some of which are more appropriate for some use cases, others for others.

That Dell customer, by the way, doesn't have to partake of Austin's famous barbecue to use the center – the virtualized workstation installations can be accessed remotely. If, however, customers want to enjoy the offerings of the nearby Rudy's Texas Bar-B-Q, they'll also have the advantage of one-to-one, real-time interactions with the Dell engineers manning the center.

The center will also be available to ISVs so that they can qualify their software offerings on multiple platforms, and to channel partners so that they can wrap their minds around the concepts behind workstation virtualization, and to get a handle on its implementation and management.

With the proliferation of low-power mobile devices and the increasing encroachment of cloud services, big ol' boxy workstations are rapidly becoming one of the last chunks of personal iron in the tower form-factor. The Dell Workstation Virtualization Center for Excellence offers customers who need top-notch CPU and GPU performance the opportunity remove those individual workstations from under desks, and give their engineers, designers, and content creates a bit more legroom. ®

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