We’ve joined many in heralding Teradici RDSH solution’s VMworld announcement. Weaving sweetly around the fact that the actual release won’t be until at least the end of 2012, it is only right that to take a quick jab at the fact v1.0 will be feature lite in comparison to the heavyweight Grand Old Man of desktop virtualisation Citrix XenApp until well into 2013.
In PCoIP Teradici have a remote protocol: but Citirx’s XenApp application is more than an ICA protocol extension for Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH). What can RDSH bring to a virtualised desktop environment? Will protocol support to RDSH be enough for Teradici to deliver a service that can complement an existing VMware View environment?
What Can Hosted Shared Bring?
Presentation virtualisation, Terminal Services, or the succinct and Twitter friendly “Hosted Shared”, is a different technology to VDI’s hosted desktop: all be it a complimentary one. Teradici are likely very aware that RDSH is the point of entry to a much larger user base than VDI has at present and is likely to have in the short to medium term.
RDSH can help deliver:
- Reduction in cost of infrastructure – the hardware required to deliver a centralized desktop environment for users with RDSH is typically less than an equivalent hosted desktop solution.
- Improved System Reliability and Security – if fewer instances support an equivalent user count, then there are fewer devices to manage and control.
- Business Agility – RDSH offers a choice of end device or concurrent user license models which enables delivery of services to large number of users. At the same time, RDSH enables delivering applications to users outside of the office, be that at branch offices or at home, allowing for greater productivity.
- Shorter application delivery time-scales –as deployment of new or updated applications is undertaken on fewer devices which can mean shorter cycles from QA through pilot to production.
Importantly, whereas there is no Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA) for Windows 7, there is for Windows Server – and thus, RDSH. If your solution only relies on delivering a desktop OS you are to an extent going to have to stand up more infrastructure as each of your customers needs dedicated hardware to support their environment. A number of VDI vendors have incorporated RDSH into their offering – Desktone for example added RDSH into their most recent release, Citrix added Windows Server support for connection with XenDesktop.
While RDSH has “scale” and “licensing” in its corner when it comes to getting in the ring with VDI, VDI can at least offer apps that run only and exclusively in win32 environments. As such, many organisations have found and are finding that their virtualised enterprise desktop strategy can be delivered in the main with RDSH and with specific use cases delivered with virtual desktops.
By offering an RDSH solution, Teradici not only gains increases its potential customer base, and at the same time helping out close partner VMware at accounts looking for both VDI and RDSH desktops.
HDX or PCoIP
Remoting protocols play a significant role for desktop virtualisation. How does PCoIP compare to Citrix HDX?
Citrix HDX – High Definition User Experience is more than a remote protocol, HDX technology is a set of capabilities that Citrix have designed to help deliver a “high definition” desktop virtualization user experience to end users. HDX includes eight sets of technologies:
- HDX MediaStream – for multimedia experience
- HDX PlugnPlay – to allow simple access to peripherals
- HDX RealTime – Voice and video for real-time collaboration
- HDX RichGraphics with RemoteFX – High-performance graphics
- HDX Broadcast -Optimized delivery over any network
- HDX WAN Optimisation – Performance and bandwidth optimizations
- HDX Smart Access – Simple secure access to users anywhere
- HDX Adaptive Orchestration: to maximize the use of your end point, network and server resources.
A full comparison of protocols is complex and beyond the scope of one article. I’d recommend reading up on the work of Bernhard Tritsch and Shawn Bass who have set out their testing methodology and regularly present their findings. Their recent Microsoft Teched presentation Microsoft RDP and RemoteFX, ICA/HDX, EOP and PCoIP: VDI Remoting Protocols Turned Inside Out is well worth a listen.
Teradici does not intend to stop at merely delivering PCoIP. There is a desire to extend the overall solution to work with multiple connection brokers from Microsoft and Oracle, as well as providing direct support for DaaS solutions – challenging the likes of LeoStream in its manager of brokers role.
While there are differences between the protocols, those differences tend to be in very specific application instances. For many virtual desktop environments today, the greater challenges of delivery and management hold sway over purchasing and renewal decisions.
What does Teradici need to be a Contender?
While Microsoft RDSH service grows ever more feature rich, Citrix XenApp is still deployed to help manage and deliver the service to users across a range of devices and networks. The latest Citrix XenApp release brings in improvements in connection time, cloud bursting, wider client access and enhanced printing.
There are many RDSH tools available today, and work is under way on updating our popular whitepaper on RDSH solutions. The goal for vendors is to make the delivery of applications and workspaces simple and efficient – in terms of time and resources. To integrate VDI and RDSH together and blend those with “traditional” desktop solutions. As of today, VMware only VDI: although with the Wanova acquisition have capability to blend VDI and physical to a far greater extent. RDSH would enhance the solution again and provide more direct competition to Citrix at a time when a good number of Citrix customers are considering their “what to do next” given the demise of x32 versions of Citrix XenApp. How will Teradici’s release integrate with View? Will it be as XenDesktop/XenApp are today with two separate and distinct environments? Or will it be integrated as with Quest’s vWorkspace (or Dell’s not-really-sure-what-to-do-with-vWorkspace).
We’ll have to wait and see. PCoIP support for RDSH will be an interesting start.