The Virtualization Practice

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One week after Austin, TX-based Virtual Bridges Inc. announced that IBM is using its flagship VERDE solution to provide virtual desktop management and provisioning capabilities for the IBM Cloud Service Provider Platform, Chelmsford MA based Desktone Inc. today announced two major steps forward on the road to ubiquitous public cloud-based virtual desktops – The release of Desktone 3.0, and its partnership with Rackspace Hosting to provide public cloud-based virtual desktops for just $1 per day.

On October 22nd, Microsoft announced that it has partnered with Cloud.com to provide integration and support of Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V to the OpenStack project. The announcement caused a great deal of interest here at the Virtualization Practice, as it signals an unexpected willingness on Microsoft’s part to pursue interoperability at the IaaS layer, allowing users to break out of the Hyper-v stack, whilst still retaining Hyper-v at the bottom. The fact this announcement came from Microsoft (not Cloud.com, Rackspace or OpenStack) seems to signal the seriousness of the intent.

Desktop Virtualization is not an easy undertaking. There – I’ve said it. “But,” you may say, “I take a copy of the desktops I have, I run them on servers in the data-centre. Once that’s done, I don’t need to update those desktop devices; I can update the virtualized workspace instead far more quickly. The desktops are running on server hardware so they will be more reliable. Eventually, someone may well offer to host these workspaces on some infrastructure out in The Cloud”.

“Really, how hard can it be?”

While at VMworld 2010 in San Francisco this year, I got to meet up and talk with Robert from Atlantis Computing. Our conversation was about VDI and he was quite proud of the capabilities that Atlantis ILIO brings to the table in the VDI space. The conversation went well and got me interested in investigating a little further on the technology. Atlantis ILIO or “VDI Booster” as they like to call it, is a solution to address the complexity and high costs of VDI Deployment and management. ILIO has been architected to support most of the main VDI players like VMware View, Citrix XenDesktop, Microsoft Hosted Virtual Desktop (HVD),and Quest Software vWorkplace to name a few.

On the heels of receiving United States patent approval for its RES Virtual Desktop Extender (VDX) technology, RES Software have announced that it will also be offering VDX as a standalone product. A feature within RES Workspace Manager (formerly RES PowerFuse), VDX serves as a fundamental component in the successful deployment of virtual desktops. It enables local applications that typically do not run smoothly, or at all, in virtual environments to run seamlessly within a virtual session. However, while VDX’s functionality allows wider access to hosted desktops, organisations need to ensure that the management and maintenance of that legacy environment isn’t overlooked to the point where it impacts user experience and the organisation’s security.

There has been a lot of noise about a negotiations between VMware and Novell, rumors are that it regards the purchase of the SUSE division, now firstly every thing that follows is pure supposition on my part, I have no insider knowledge. now mike has put forward one argument on why a VMware purchase of Novell SUSE assets make very good corporate sense. However I put another idea into the fray.

Anticipating the formal announcement was a widely leaked report that View 4.5 would ship without Virtual Profiles, the user profile management solution that VMware OEMed from RTO Software in fall 2009. VMware finally confirmed that the leak was correct on the first day of VMworld 2010, but even then held back from announcing its interim solution until after the formal product launch. Then rather than simply offer View customers a copy of Virtual Profiles as a standalone product, VMware chose instead to partner with Liquidware Labs to enable them to offer Liquidware Labs’ ProfileUnity to View customers at a substantial discount. While VMware’s position is that Virtual Profiles will ship with View 4.5 at some point in the future, the decision to offer ProfileUnity instead did nothing to address the concerns of potential customers, especially those who might finish up paying twice for a profile management system. The only good news for View customers is that ProfileUnity’s agent-less and database-less architecture should make the future migration to Virtual Profiles a simple matter when the time comes to move.

VMware’s 5 Businesses and the “New Stack”

VMware dominates the enterprise virtualization platform business with vSphere, and is poised to create a vSphere compatible public cloud ecosystem around vCloud. Layering Management software on top of these platforms is a logical progression up the value stack, as is layering an applications platform (vFabric) on top of vSphere and vCloud. VMware’s end user computing strategy seems to be too tied to VDI to be able to break out of the fundamental limitations associated with this approach, and will likely leave the larger question of how to manage the next generation desktop to the previously mentioned startups and perhaps Symantec.

VMware has said that is it committed to its Desktop Virtualization Strategy but VMWare’s commitment to VDI as the only solution is going to mean that unless you are only going to deploy VDI you’ll likely consider another vendor to help you achieve your goal.
There are two desires which are fundamentally in conflict, and addressing this conflict is the biggest opportunity in desktop computing. Can you manage the demand for users to have effective IT at their fingertips while controlling access and costs from the centre?