The Virtualization Practice

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When considering a Virtual Desktop Design a good architect needs to ask “what is the best solution for this environment?” For many, once you’ve considered the needs of your users, it is a combination of desktop delivery models – some virtual, some physical. Ideally the user is unaware of which model is being delivered to them, they consume that service on an appropriate device, at an appropriate time. Ringcube perhaps first to market for this type of solution with their Workspace Virtualization Engine.

Monitoring the performance of the infrastructure, applications and services in IT as a Service environments will require that monitoring solutions become multi-tenant, can be instantiated by ITaaS management tools without any further configuration, and that they automatically “find” their back end management systems through whatever firewalls may be in place. These requirements will probably be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for the heavyweight complex legacy tools that were in place prior to to the onset of virtualization, the public cloud and now IT as a Service. ITaaS is the tipping point that should cause most enterprises ignore every monitoring tool that they have bought in the past and to start over with a clean sheet of paper.

Mainstream virtual desktop solutions have focused their efforts on providing the best platform for hosting virtual desktop environments. Hypervisors, image management, and connection brokers are the top feature sets that companies have looked at during their comparisons. Moving up the stack, these vendors are now focusing on user personalization management, but do not have what is considered to be a full desktop management solution. So are our end-to-end virtual desktop solutions really complete?

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.

Given that vSphere provides significant benefits in terms of cost savings and business agility, those benefits are tied to and constrained by the ability of vSphere to provide backward compatibility with existing legacy enterprise systems. This backward compatibility makes it impossible for vSphere to provide infinite horizontal scalability. Moving to the same architecture as the most highly scaled out public cloud vendors provides for a more radical set of benefits, but at the cost of breaking backward compatibility for many applications.

It is the start of 2011 and I hope everyone has not broken their New Year’s Resolutions already. To start the year off, I would like to encourage and or challenge you to become a part of your local VMware User Group or VMUG as we like to call it. Last year I did a post on My Experience with VMUGs and I am a full supporter of this program and the good it can bring. Although I have a bias for the VMUGS over other types of user groups, the concept of people helping people rates high in my book and I would like to challenge you all to get involved.

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.