This week we saw the announcement of two very similar acquisitions. Quest Software announced on October 24 that they were acquiring ChangeBASE and on October 26 Citrix Systems announced they were acquiring AppDNA. Both solutions provide application compatibility testing for the Windows platform.
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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.
Citrix announced the acquisition of RingCube, adding a new wrench to their virtual desktop delivery toolkit. The RingCube vDisk solution uniquely delivers a complete desktop environment without having to virtualize the underlining operating system.
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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.
With Microsoft reporting that Windows 7 VDI environments can be up to 11% more expensive than Windows 7 with traditional desktops when will desktop virtualisation give you a return on investment? Will performance taxes, license taxes and complexity taxes mean that desktop virtualisation will never be more than a niche service regardless of the clamour from VDI vendors hailing 2011 as the year for VDI as they did in 2010?
Or, is it that the taxation can be accommodated, all be it without short term gains because your business will benefit from the representation of a user’s application set not simply from their cubicle’s monitor?
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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.
Can you use Desktop Virtualization in your organization to improve IT delivery? Desktop Virtualization, as a concept, is straightforward – separate the desktop environment from the physical machine. This gives you benefits in terms of speed of delivery, how you can provide access to mobile and remote workers, how you can ensure security and compliance.
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?
Business Agility ...
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Virtual Computer recently announced the availability of their NxTop product for free for up to five users. NxTop combines centralized virtual desktop management with a “bare-metal” client-hypervisor to make managing many desktops as easy as managing one. But, you may ask, what can a client side hypervisor do for me? The answer – solutions such as Virtual Computer’s NxTop can be utilized to effectively manage your desktop environment, provided they have a functional management interface. That said, bear in mind this is a developing technology, but it is a technology that offers you the opportunity to manage your desktops with virtualization without the larger infrastructure requirements of VDI but that doesn’t mean to say it wholly replaces SBC solutions: but it is a useful option to consider.