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This article was originally posted on CRN by Joseph F. Kovar.

NetApp is using two recent acquisitions to go all in on virtual desktop infrastructure with the introduction this week of Spot PC by NetApp.

Spot PC by NetApp combines the intellectual property the company received with its 2020 acquisitions of Spot and of CloudJumper into a single offering to provide a complete cloud-based infrastructure on which to build a virtual desktop infrastructure, or VDI, with Microsoft’s new Windows 365, said Amiram Shachar, vice president and general manager of Spot by NetApp.

“We’ve developed a service that combines all the automation and cost optimization that Spot has offered for years with the virtualization technology of CloudJumper to offer a VDI infrastructure,” Shachar told CRN.

Spot developed technology to drive continuous optimization of workloads running on a public cloud while ensuring that those applications follow customer SLAs (service-level agreements) and SLOs (service-level objectives). It did this in part by taking advantage of compute spot instances available from Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform. Those spot instances gave the company its name.

CloudJumper developed cloud software for managing virtual desktop infrastructure across AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud.

Spot PC by NetApp forms a complete cloud-based infrastructure on which to run Microsoft’s new Windows 365, a cloud service that runs Windows 10 or Windows 11 in Azure, Shachar said.

Making VDI work well at the enterprise level traditionally requires businesses to focus on the management and cost, he said.

“With traditional VDI, you need to know the desktop, the storage, the compute, the security,” he said. “But we do it all over the cloud with a cloud-like interface and all the security and auto-scaling from zero to hundreds of virtual desktops in seconds, with a very easy-to-use interface for visibility, provisioning and field testing.”

Spot PC shows that NetApp is moving at cloud speed with its technology portfolio, said John Woodall, vice president of engineering and NetApp enablement at General Datatech, a Dallas-based solution provider and longtime NetApp partner.

“NetApp in June introduced Spot Wave, which runs on Apache Spark to automate the compute layer for cloud applications,” Woodall told CRN. “Now Spot is being combined with other NetApp assets to give cloud-based virtual desktops. This is one of those quiet things that pop up from NetApp once in a while, and not a part of its regular product introduction cadence.”

Spot PC will likely become an important service to offer customers looking to the cloud to solve some key challenges, Woodall said.

“We’re seeing component shortages and security driving people to look at as-a-service offerings and the cloud,” he said. “Customers will be looking at if they want to buy new desktops or go with Desktop as a Service.”

NetApp’s strategy is to focus on optimized compute, storage and desktop in the cloud, Woodall said.

“Spot PC fits in with what NetApp says about its cloud strategy. And Microsoft has been clear that future versions of its desktop products will be only available through the cloud.”

NetApp Spot PC is currently in private preview, with general availability slated for this fall, Shachar said.

The company has not yet determined pricing but expects it to be 50 percent less than current offerings from other vendors, which typically charge $50 to $70 per seat, per month, he said.

It will be available as a channel-only product, either via Microsoft’s cloud market or NetApp’s own field reps, he said.

“We’re working with MSPs who provide thousands to tens of thousands of desktops to SMBs through enterprises,” he said. “An MSP just needs to go to the Spot console, create an MSP seat, and create sub-users for each seat. Customers know they’re running on Spot and Azure, but they don’t care. The get a single invoice. The subscription and billing is all done behind the scenes. It’s a very simple way to consume it.”


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