Before you even get to the entertaining “Citrix vs VMware vs Other” quasi-religious debate, there will be a VDI vs RDSH altercation. It can altercate for days. Ultimately, no business question gets asked, nor decision made, as technical stags lock antlers.
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At Citrix Synergy in Barcelona, this was a very good question that a number of partners were reporting their customers were asking. Citrix XenApp 6.5 is a market leading product. Windows 2012 is very new. What are the differentiating features, what key questions should you ask and how do you decide on the one for you?
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OnLive, the desktop pundits favorite DaaS provider, is one step closer to being able to offer a viable and fully compliant virtual “desktop” service following the stealth update of its platform from a Windows 7 based VDI service to a Windows Server 8 R2 Remote Desktop Services offering. While this move eliminates the threat to the service that attempting to run a set based on a licensing model that was not compliant with Microsoft’s licensing policies, OnLive is still not out of the woods.
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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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Is virtualizing Citrix XenApp a waste of time and effort? In spite of the hardware abstraction allowing easier image management and OS upgrades; in spite of options for higher availability and faster recovery, even fail-over; in spite of enabling silo consolidation; in spite of enabling managing user capacity on servers – especially for x32 environments, but also x64; … what could virtualization of your Presentation Virtualization environment possibly do for you?
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Red Hat’s emerging VDI offering is based on its acquisition of Qumranet in 2008, more specifically a technology known as Spice which is designed to replace RDP and ICA as the protocol between the server and the client. Spice was made Open Source at the end of 2009.
Ulteo has just released Version 2 of its Open Virtual Desktop (OVD), an Open Source desktop broker product which is designed to deliver GUI applications running on Linux, Terminal Services and Windows to java-enabled browsers. Ulteo’s appeal is likely to be to more cost-conscious and linux-oriented organizations than the large enterprise customers of Citrix, VMware, Ericom, Systancia or Quest, but within these potentially new markets it can deliver many of the mangeability benefits of the existing proprietary products, and it has few competitors for its key feature of delivering both Linux and Terminal Services desktop applications through the same portal.
XenDesktop’s initial marketing placement caused confusion, the latest release gives a greater flexibility and introduces new innovation. The latest release better provides for a flexible VDI offering – allowing access to XenApp technologies in one per named user license. Yet, depending on your environment – this can be at a hefty cost, massively increasing the license cost in some environments.