The Virtualization Practice

Author Archive for Simon Bramfitt

Simon Bramfitt
Simon BramfittSimon is an independent industry analyst covering enterprise desktop, mobile and application virtualization, delivery and management technologies. He is an experienced solutions architect with unmatched insight into the challenges of designing large (200,000 seat plus) high availability presentation and desktop virtualization systems. Simon was invited to join the Citrix Technology Professionals (CTP) group in May 2010 and joined the Virtualization Practice in September 2010

The phenomenal growth of the tablet market has left many industry analysts scrambling to reassess sales forecasts for both tablets and PCs. Last week Gartner was forced to acknowledge that its previous forecasts were way off the mark when it issued a revised 2011 sales forecast that reduced its November 2011 PC sales growth estimate by a staggering 25%. Gartner research director, Ranjit Atwal, said his company had not fully appreciated the impact that tablet devices were having on the market, and the new figures “reflect marked reductions in expected near-term unit growth based on expectations of weaker consumer demand, due in no small part to growing user interest in media tablets such as the iPad.” Given that this is the same Gartner that in September 2010 instructed CIOs everywhere to go out and buy iPads, it shows just how badly it underestimated the tablet’s impact on the PC market. As tablet sales (and for the moment we can read that as being almost exclusively iPad sales) continue to cut in to sales of PCs and laptops, PC manufacturers are under pressure to offer their own alternatives and IT organizations are under similar pressure to provide ways to integrate tablets into their core service offerings.

When VMware first announced that it was going to license Teradici’s PCoIP protocol for inclusion in View 4.0, its most visible shortcoming was that VMware did not plan to update the View Security Server at the same time. Setting aside any debate as to the performance characteristics of PCoIP on the WAN, the lack of support for the View Security Server was a significant obstacle to widespread adoption of View in enterprise environments. So the inclusion of direct support for PCoIP tunneling through the View 4.6 Security Server comes as a most welcome update. Also included with View 4.6 are new USB enhancements, as well as support for Windows 7 SP1.

Attached as a footnote to last week’s big news of Windows 7 SP1 being released to manufacture, Microsoft also announced a new lightweight edition of Windows 7. Windows Thin PC (WinTPC) is in many respects a Windows 7-based update of Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs (WinFLP), a lightweight locked down version of Windows XP SP3 that was offered to enterprise customers as an encouragement to get them to migrate away from Windows 2000 without the cost of performing a hardware refresh at the same time.

MultiPoint Server is the Cinderella of the Windows world, locked away in the cellar education sector, kept away from the bright lights of publicity and severely limited in what it could offer. But that could well be changing given Microsoft’s recent efforts to revamp the product. Although not yet quite ready for shipping, Microsoft has been working hard to add value to MultiPoint Server and when it ships in March it looks like Microsoft might have a winner on its hands.

At last year’s VMworld in San Francisco Stephen Deasy (Director, R&D, VMware) and Srinivas Krishnamurti (Senior Director, Mobile Solutions, VMware) announced VMware’s plans for a type II mobile hypervisor platform. Three months later VMware and LG have announced a partnership to install VMware Mobile Virtualization Platform (MVP) on LG smart phones starting in 2011. While significant questions remain about the viability of this partnership, the need for a mobile virtualization solution cannot be stressed enough.

Wanova has today announced general availability of Mirage 2.0, the newest release of its distributed desktop virtualization platform. Mirage 2.0 is a significant milestone for Wanova, extending the platform from a limited scalability solution better suited to LAN-based deployments to a true enterprise class platform capable of supporting multiple remote branch offices without requiring a either high capacity WAN links or a WAN acceleration appliances.

Ericom has has won the race to deliver the first new product release of the “Year of Desktop Virtualization” with the launch of Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect 5.7.

WebConnect (sorry Ericom, but “PowerTerm WebConnect 5.7″ takes too much space on the page to type out every time) is Ericom’s answer to Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop, plus or minus a few bells and whistles. On the plus side WebConnect includes mainframe and midrange terminal emulation software to provide access to legacy systems, as well as offering support for mixed environments consisting of servers running Windows Server 2003, 2008, 2008 R2 grouped together in a single farm, and manages to do all this with a single product where Citrix still requires two.

The desktop virtualization year opened with a bang at CES with the explosion of vendor announcements introducing the next generation of mobile tablets. The obvious winner this year being Apple and the iPad but with many more vendors showing off Windows-based tablets including HP, Archos and Pegatron, as well as Android tablets from manufacturers such as Archos (again), Compal, Dell, HP (again), and Motorola. The key challenge of course being the delivery of existing enterprise applications onto these platforms, something that’s desktop virtualization and presentation virtualization is ideally suited for. The inescapable consequence of this was a steady stream of announcements from Citrix, VMware, and Wyse as they leapfrogged each other’s announcements on availability, functionality, and usability of their respective mobile tablet client offerings. The level of competitiveness here producing major benefits for potential adopters as each strove to outdo the other in terms of user experience innovation and performance.

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