Redwood City-based MokaFive is bringing its year to a close with two major product announcements. Releasing both MokaFive Suite 3.0 as well as its first cloud offering, the MokaFive Suite Service Provider Edition, on the same day.

MOKAFIVE SUITE 3.0

MokeFive Suite is an enterprise desktop management platform that is used to create and administer layered virtual desktop images called ‘LivePCs’  which execute as guests on a type II hypervisor. LivePC images are authored using the MokaFive Creator which also serves as a test platform to simulate and end-users experience.  LivePC images can be stored on centralized or distributed file stores. MokaFive also provides support for Amazon S3 storage, which can be of significant value in managing highly distributed environments, or run directly off USB flash drives. MokaFive LivePCs are effectively hypervisor agnostic; support  is currently available for VMware’s free Player and the open source Virtual Box. Beta support for Parallels Workstation is new in MokaFive Suite 3.0, and MokaFive’s own bare metal platform will be shipping in Q1 2011.The core MokaFive suite  has seen over 120 enhancements over the previous 2.0 release that focus on security, performance, system administration and user environment management, as well as a number of features targeted specifically at the needs of service providers. The  two most significant shortcomings in the previous edition of MokaFive Suite 2.0 were the vulnerability of LivePC images to the potential security weaknesses inherent in the use of a type II hypervisor on unmanaged desktops, and the lack of support for Windows 7 which significantly limited MokaFive Suite’s viability in one of the primary use cases for desktop virtualization. Needless to say MokaFive has taken action to address both concerns in the 3.0 release.  Other notable features include full support for both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 7 desktops enabling MokaFive suite to compete with other desktop virtualization offerings being marketed as a way to ease migration from Windows XP to Windows 7, as well as having significantly improved Live PC management support with  more than 20 new policy controls, and new reporting  and alerting services. MokaFive has also introduced role-based administration to better meet the needs of large enterprise environments and service providers.

Portable USB drives are not noted for high performance, so the MokaFive team have worked to optimize the storage IO characteristics of the Live PC player to maximize performance.  To do this they re-worked the virtual machine I/O and optimized reads and writes to align with the performance characteristics of flash storage.  This has resulted in significantly improved overall performance with a reduction in OS boot time of up to 50%, with an additional benefit of reducing the number of writes the guest OS makes to storage so extending the operational life of flash storage devices.

Security enhancements are split between comprehensive anti-malware protection capabilities that are built on software licensed from AVG Technologies and general security features including support for two factor authentication, automatic lockout should user access permissions revoked, and automatic locking of the guest session if the host operating system is suspended.  The AVG software has been integrated into the MokaFive Live PC Player where it can confirm the integrity of the host operating system before the guest  virtual desktop starts.  The software continues to provide real-time monitoring of the host operating system and can shut down the guest showed the host security be compromised.  The antivirus software resides exclusively within the MokaFive Live PC Player and is updated automatically from a cloud service managed by AVG.  The AVG code has been optimized so that it can work in conjunction with other third-party antivirus software within either the host or guest operating systems without introducing unacceptable performance penalties.

The list price of MokaFive Suite 3.0 is $150 per user which matches the price charged by VMware for View 4.5 Enterprise. While the base licensing cost for MokaFive Suite and VMware View are the same, potential customers need to take into account the differential in infrastructure costs between View Enterprise edition which requires a full virtual infrastructure to host its desktops and MokaFive Suite which can leverage existing desktop resources.  At the same time, MokaFive LivePC instances run on the local desktop and so are covered by Microsoft’s standard licensing terms for Windows 7 Professional, i.e. Windows VDA licensing is not required further reducing the cost of MokaFive Suite in comparison with hosted virtual desktop solutions like VMware View or Citrix XenDesktop.

MOKAFIVE SUITE SERVICE PROVIDER EDITION

Along with the introduction of role-based administration in MokaFive Suite 3.0, MokaFive has  introduced support for multiple Microsoft Windows active directly domains and advanced reporting capabilities.  These features combined introduce the ability to build out shared multi-tenant environments, enabling the creation of MokaFive Suite Service Provider Edition.

MokaFive Suite Service Provider Edition will appeal to organizations looking to establish a cloud-based Desktop as a Service (DaaS) offering, who are unwilling or unable to make an investment in the data center server infrastructure needed to support conventional server hosted desktop virtualization solutions, this alone should generate significant interest  in MokaFive amongst service providers. This pricing advantage can be passed on to potential customers to creates a greater customer incentives, to accelerate market development. Potential customers who may be wary of running desktop services exclusively from a remote data center will appreciate the security of knowing that  loss of remote connectivity will not result in loss of desktop services.

CONCLUSION

MokaFive still has to show that it’s platform is capable of delivering the stability and scalability necessary to provide carrier class service offerings, but the scalability challenges it may face are an order of magnitude less demanding than those that of a server hosted virtual desktop platform, giving it significant advantage over many of its competitors who have chosen to focus on server hosted virtual desktops.

Free trial editions of MokaFive Suite 3.0 and MokaFive Suite Service Provider Edition are available to download from the MokaFive website here (registration required).

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Simon Bramfitt (131 Posts)

Simon 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

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