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Acer America
Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.


333 West San Carlos Street
San Jose, California 95110
United States


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November 8, 2011 |

Virtual Computer Formalizes Its Partner Program

The client-based VDI provider explains its approach to desktop virtualization and why it needed to make its partner program official.

“VDI has been way oversold.” At least, that’s how John Glendenning explains virtual desktop infrastructure, or desktop virtualization. Glendenning is senior vice president of worldwide sales and business development at Virtual Computer Inc., a desktop virtualization provider in Westford, Mass. He says the reality of what traditional VDI can do for a customer is very different from what is being presented to that customer.

Desktop operating systems were not designed to run on servers; they were designed to run on PCs, says Glendenning. “If you take the VDI message at its core, that message is: ‘Take this desktop operating system and run it multiple times to the server.’ And what you end up with is an extremely costly and complex data center solution that delivers a poor user experience.” Worse, he says, it doesn’t support all the desktop PCs in the environment because many customers have laptops, and the VDI environment requires a connected session to access a user’s desktop.

Virtual Computer, which has recently created a formal partner program, offers an alternative, known as client-hosted VDI. “We turn VDI on its head,” says Glendenning. What he means is rather than virtualize the server, the company virtualizes the PC. “We still deliver the value of separating the hardware from the operating system, and the value you can build around that in centralized management,” he says. “But because we execute the desktop operating system where it was designed to execute, which is on the PC, the infrastructure is far less complex and far less costly.”

As an example, Glendenning says deployment of an operating system to 1,000 desktops in the server-hosted VDI world requires 20 servers, 50 terabytes of storage, and probably a network upgrade. With client-hosted VDI, on the other hand, only one server and 2 terabytes of storage are needed, with no network upgrade. “And all of the users would get a local computing experience because their desktop OS is still working locally. The magic sauce here is that we virtualized the PC and now deliver unique benefits [to customers] and enable our channel partners to deliver unique benefits that they wouldn’t be able to do any other way.”

Virtual Computer’s channel partners agree. “Virtual Computer’s NxTop [solution] solves complex problems for customers that are committed to desktop virtualization. It is easy to implement, cost-effective, and reaches a base of users that other desktop virtualization methods can’t reach,” says Mike Strohl, CEO of Entisys Solutions Inc., a consultant and integrator of virtualization solutions in Concord, Calif.

Strohl and other channel pros have been with Virtual Computer for years, and have been part of the company’s informal partner program. Now that SMBs are becoming more aware of desktop virtualization, interest and demand for the technology have grown. For Virtual Computer, that demand “is increasing exponentially quarter over quarter,” says Glendenning. That required putting in place “a more formal program” to broaden recruitment and better train partners.

The new program accommodates two partner types: solution provider and MSP. Solution providers are VARs or integrators that sell the NxTop client-hosted VDI solution and deliver services around it. The MSP program is for organizations that intend to use the NxTop solution to deliver full managed services. “We give the MSP partner the authority to purchase our licenses and deliver managed services to multiple customers,” says Glendenning. A company can sign up for both programs.

The solution provider part of the program has two levels: authorized and certified. Authorized partners are required to complete sales training that is selected from the company’s online, self-service educational offerings. To become certified, partners are also required to complete technical training and demonstrate expertise in the NxTop product. Certified partners have access to the Virtual Computer Champions program, which is essentially a deal registration program that rewards the most proactive and engaged partners with additional margin. There is no program sign-up fee and training is offered gratis as well.

By the end of this year, Glendenning hopes to have in excess of 200 new certified partners. “I want to be careful,” he says. “One of the key things about building a channel is to build it in alignment with demand in the market. The last thing we want to do is recruit hundreds of partners and have our partner base outstrip demand. We can comfortably take 200-plus partners, and from there we see a natural growth as demand for VDI and our product increases.”

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