EarthLink launched TechCare. "EarthLink TechCare is a fully managed outsourced help desk that is customizable and scalable, enabling customers to relieve their overburdened IT staffs and refocus on more strategic initiatives, " states the press release. Basically, it is a tech support hotline for companies. This follows their launch of Cloud Workspace, a hosted desktop and virtualization application service. VDI and Managed IT are the new tools in the CLEC kit.
tw telecom has rolled out a virtual desktop services as well. TWC's NaviSite signed up with Desktone to deliver a cloud-based Desktop-as-a-Service. AllCovered is an MSP that is acquiring smaller MSP's that offer VDI.
Citrix and its partners, like Ncomputing, are bringing back the thin client for use with virtualization. And these thin clients are cheap!
I'm wondering when Dell will roll out a Wyse service offering. They didn't acquire Wyse, Sonicwall and others just to let them stand by themselves.
Best Buy's Geek Squad added a Channel program to help them sell Managed IT nationally. Managed IT, remote monitoring (of desktops, laptops, and servers), and virtual desktop are all kind of in the same bucket. And all require serious bandwidth. You aren't going to be running an office on VDI on cable modem, which may be why EarthLink and other CLEC's are embracing IT. One way to combat the cablization of the small business market (sub-$750 telecom spend) is to add enough reasons - VDI, VoIP, Cloud, monitoring, etc. - to require dedicated bandwidth (or even MPLS for private WAN and cloud). Dedicated bandwidth counters the cable modem versus the T1 debate.
We'll see if the right message and value proposition pop up in the marketplace to move the needle on this set of service offerings (VDI, Managed IT, RMM) from the CLEc world. The MSP sector already delivers these services.
One tool to make the message pop in the marketplace is smarter PR. CLEC's need to craft press releases to explain what services offerings are being sold, to whom, and why. It is one avenue to get the story as concrete as possible to the marketplace.