The Virtualization Practice

Author Archive for Andrew Wood

Andrew Wood
Andrew WoodAndrew is a Director of Gilwood CS Ltd, based in the North East of England, which specialises in delivering and optimising server and application virtualisation solutions. With 12 years of experience in developing architectures that deliver server based computing implementations from small-medium size business to global enterprise solutions, his role involves examining emerging technology trends, vendor strategies, development and integration issues, and management best practices.

AppSense, a leading provider of user virtualization technology, and Centrix Software, provider of unified end-user computing solutions, have announced a strategic partnership to provide organizations with a comprehensive, user-centric transformation program. Do you need a user-centric transformation program? How could this alliance help your business manage IT beyond the ‘single-PC-for-every-user’ era? If they can help you, are they your only hope? Will it justify your CFO’s iPad?

XenApp 6.5 is Citrix’s latest offering of their renowned Presentation Virtualisation (PV) service. Citrix are not alone in updating their feature set. Earlier in 2011 Microsoft introduced SP1 for 2008 enhancing the OS for the core Remote Desktop Services’ (RDS) session virtualization service, Ericom released PowerTerm WebConnect 5.7.1, ProPalms updated TSE to 6.5 and Quest announced vWorkspace 7.2 MR1.

The challenge for Citrix is to position their VDI portfolio effectively. At the very least there should be a standardised license plan and migration path from (or to) the grid and non-grid solutions. There is potential to remove the reduced functionality versions of XenDesktop. Most importantly – to have a license model that allows organisations to make a choice of technology that fits their need, not their size. Can Citrix FlexCast be truly flexible if it ignores the value that having a grid technology can bring not only to the SMB market – but to any sized enterprise?

Virtual Computer have redefined virtual desktops delivery with their latest release, NxTop 4. In NxTop4 Virtual Computer have aimed to further improve their client-side hypervisor desktop management solution and to better harness the power of end-point PCs for local execution rather than requiring major investments in virtual machine server farms.

Like a new college student, fresh from the flush of new found freedom to expand their horizons, Citrix appear to have had a case of the munchies. First Citrix’s portfolio was extended with the acquitisition of Kaviza. More recently, the purchase of RingCube. The desktop virtualisation techhnologies acquired will help strengthen Citrix’s virtualised desktop offering. VDI-in-a-box offering simplicity of deployment, providing options for the SMB and MSP spaces; and vDesk providing a layering functionality giving greater VDI scalability with an improved personalisation offering.

VMware view to release RTO profile solution. Is this lagging behind Citrix who have bought Ringcube? View now has profile management – but that isn’t user virtualisation. Does VDI need User Virtualization, or does User Virtualization need VDI? User Virtualization has the capacity to extend across desktop delivery boundaries because the user workspace, their applications and data are no longer bound to the desktop OS. Solutions available from vendors such as AppSense, UniDesk and RES. To deliver virtual desktops for the enterprise, it is not simply a case of managing profile load time better: many users need greater customisation than a shared desktop can deliver. In an enterprise environment VDI is not the only method of delivering desktops. A complete user virtualization solution needs to be able to accommodate, not only centralised hosted desktops, but off-line use as well and standard desktops.

Performance Management for Desktop Virtualization (VDI) and Presentation Virtualization (SBC)

Ovum’s research found that desktop virtualization currently represents approximately 15% of the business PC market. However, this figure is dominated by the Presentation Virtualization model (12%), typically used in call datacenter-type environments, and has been for the last 10 years. If PV/terminal services are excluded, the next generation of solutions aimed at CIOs, from the likes of Citrix, Quest and VMware, hold less then 3% of the market, showing that many CIOs are holding back from taking the plunge.

Lion updates session sharing feature in Lion – does this mean that native mac terminal services can push out mac os to thin clients. Given the license changes, there may well be over 200 features in the new OS, but Lion is not the release to make Apple a desktop OS that is lord of the jungle of corporate desktop solutions.

RES Baseline Desktop Analyzer is a free, on-line, Microsoft Windows Azure-hosted service that allows you to gain visibility into your existing desktop infrastructure through a real-time analysis of your environment and user base. RES have shown interesting innovation in the presentation of their Baseline Desktop Analyzer. The tool can work well as an initial guide on the state of your current desktop estate. But, it acts as a guide, it can present a scale of the task. To know your desktop environment fully and to know how you will need to take-on a campaign of migration you will need a wider set of information and likely additional tools and support.

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