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?
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The Virtualization Disaster Avoidance & Backup space has change fairly significantly within the last year. These changes are cumulative but have a great impact on the virtualization ecosystem. I include Disaster Avoidance in this review as there have been some great strides made in this arena that could impact the entire environment. Disaster Avoidance technologies were demonstrated at EMC World 2010 as well as at other conferences throughout the year. The impact was quite huge, but there are technological hurdles involved with its deployment within any organization.
Virtualization Backup vendors have pushed the envelope once more targeting fast backup and fast recovery of data as well as ensuring that the backups actually work. Here is a list of this years improvements in this space.
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There is great outrage to Microsoft’s reluctance to play ball and support virtualization of IE. Without an alternative, the solutions offered by Microsoft are expensive, cumbersome and difficult to maintain. Virtualising the application may well allow different browser versions to co-exist – but the user-experience can be cumbersome with links to other applications not always launching the correct browser and users having to know which browser to choose. Unibrows offers an interesting alternative utilising isolation to support the deployment of different controls and centralisation to allow management and control and importantly wrapped up in what sounds like a very appealing cost.
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Whilst new SMBs may be dabbling with online application suites, the bulk of the established SMB workload, however, is done in desktop applications, typically Microsoft Office, running in various flavours of Windows with a Windows Server. This is definitely not in the cloud, and there are lots of very good reasons why it won’t be, and less radical solutions are likely to offer more benefit.
Cloud Computing ...
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As of the end of last year, there are a new breed of virtualization backup tools (Veeam, vRangerPro, esXpress) now available, end-to-end backup tools (Acronis, Symantec). These tools will backup a virtual machine to tape using built in mechanisms instead of requiring scripting, or multiple backup tools. The question is: is this necessary? Should virtual machine backups be dropped to tape at all? Something to watch through out the year.