Alibaba Cloud Lets Its Small Desktop Client Leave China • The Register

Alibaba Cloud has brought its palm-sized Wuying cloud client appliance to Singapore – the first step outside of China.

Wuying was unveiled in September 2020. The tiny device was suggested as a way for consumers and businesses to escape PC upgrade cycles. Instead, they can run a virtual desktop streamed from the Alibaba Cloud and endure a wired connection to a local monitor and input devices.

In 2021, Alibaba offered a follow-up: an all-in-one Wuying that offered the cloudy customer plus a large touchscreen. Included with the device was a Cloud Workplace that provides cloud storage and allows administrators to manage Wuying devices remotely.

Both versions of Wuying were only offered in China.

Now Alibaba Cloud has brought the device to Singapore — along with its murky Elastic Desktop Service — and suggested it’s something for remote workers or for enterprises tired of running their own desktop virtualization infrastructure.

But Alibaba Cloud hasn’t made a huge splash. The company announced availability and a happy experience with a reference company, but isn’t discussing pricing publicly and won’t say whether it will bring both Wuying devices to the city.

We also asked whether Alibaba Cloud has plans to bring Wuying and its cloudy desktops to other countries where it operates: the US, UK, Germany, Australia, Japan, United Arab Emirates, India, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Again, the company had nothing to say on the matter.

Alibaba Cloud is not often as candid about its intentions as rival clouds. For example, its website does not publicly match the extensive price lists that other clouds publish.

But even with that in mind, it’s hard to suggest that Wuying’s debut in Singapore suggests that Alibaba Cloud has emerged as a threat to anyone else in the desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) market.

Thin client makers will not lose sleep. Hyper-converged infrastructure players that still get a lot of revenue from desktop virtualization (Nutanix admits this) won’t be looking in their rearview mirrors. Citrix and VMware will not perceive an immediate new threat. Microsoft will be confident that its own multi-headed DaaS offering will not have a new global competitor, and HP will not worry that its Teradici acquisition could be trumped.

The register asked if it would be possible to review Wuying, and was told that Alibaba Cloud has not yet considered that option, but may change its mind. If so, we’re all set.

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