Dell Drills Dongle-Sized Hole in BYOD Assumptions

Dell pitches Cloud Connect as datacenter-secure remote access small enough to fit in a pocket.

Android-powered USB or HDMI plugins tend to cluster around functions important to consumers but peripheral, at best, to business users or the datacenters that keep them connected. Google’s $35 Chromecast dongle, for example, plugs into any television HDMI port to stream Internet video directly to the screen.

The Dell Wyse Cloud Connect dongle, announced Jan. 29, may smarten-up a hotel-room flat-screen TV by turning it into a ready-made monitor for business travelers in need of remote access without a laptop or secure tablet. The $129 dongle contains a multi-core Cortex-A9 ARM system-on-a-chip (SoC) with 1GB of RAM, 8GB of onboard flash memory and a slot for a Micro SD card with up to 72GB of additional storage. It runs Android 4.1, Jelly Bean as an operating system and Google Chrome as its main browser, but adds several layers of software and hardware-based security, as well as support for the enforcement of policy-based security and systems management from the home office (as well as the ability to report problems or conflicts in real time to datacenter remote-access-management consoles).

It comes with Dell’s PocketCloud Remote Desktop, which is designed for secure remote-access through Dell’s cloud using RDP or VNC, and supports virtual-desktop connections using VMware View, Citrix or Microsoft clients as well as the range of Dell Cloud Connect services that integrate and build on traditional Wyse virtual-client and remote-access products. The Wyse options include high-performance, low-graphics versions, rich-graphics options, or the ability to connect a user directly back to his or her own desktop rather than into the datacenters as a remote host.

The backend is driven by a self-service portal for users to establish their own sessions, and the full range of Wyse/Dell backend datacenter and remote-client-network management functions developed over the decades Wyse was an independent virtual-client networking provider. Dell acquired Wyse in May 2012 with the intention of combining the Wyse thin, zero- and cloud-based client products with Dell’s own cloud, virtualization and management functions.

IDC research estimates the smart connected-device market is growing more than 30 percent per year, driven by BYOD, mobile-app development and other technologies based in personally owned mobile devices. But while BYOD-driven remote access often depends on efforts to make personally owned devices less insecure, Dell’s combination of thin-client virtualization and remote access gives IT the ability to hand employees key that gives them direct, easy-to-use, secure connection directly back into the corporation’s infrastructure. The dongle is also small enough not to burden employees with big portable computing devices, and allows them to use whatever screens or monitors are available. The unit can connect to HDMI or MHL interfaces on any monitor, connect to peripherals via Bluetooth or WiFi, or even plug in to an employees own tablet or laptop, using the BYOD device as a screen while connecting securely to a datacenter through a cloud connection configured or approved by IT.


Image: Dell, Inc.