The Virtualization Practice

Desktop Virtualization

Desktop Virtualization covers VDI (centrally hosted desktops), Desktops as a Service (DaaS), desktop virtualization via client side hypervisors, and shared server technologies. Major areas of focus include when and where centralized desktop offerings are appropriate and not appropriate, ...
how management of remote desktops combined with management of mobile devices leads to a better managed and more productive end user computing environment, how to deliver the performance that end users require, and the impacts of using remote desktop technologies upon organizational security. Covered products and vendors include the VMware Horizon Suite, Horizon View, Horizon Mirage, VMware ThinApp, Citrix XenServer, Citrix XenApp, Citrix XenClient, and Microsoft Remote Data Services.

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VMware prices and licenses its products today along a set of models that are not optimized for either pure market penetration (like Microsoft) or pure extraction of the maximum cash from each customer (like Oracle). These policies will likely ensure that VMware continues to dominate the high end of the market – especially in enterprise accounts, but that VMware will leave itself open to being eaten from below by Microsoft Hyper-V (especially in Windows only SMB/SME accounts). The long term answer to how VMware positions itself with respect to price and value in the marketplace will likely come from vFabric and Cloud Foundry, as both of these products are crucial to the long term strategic position of VMware in the market – and also will rely upon aggressive third party support to succeed.

AppSense Lab’s DataLocker’s first release offers a method of encrypting and decrypting files to allow secure storage in cloud services. This is a new direction for AppSense – with support for win32/win64 platforms, but also Mac and iOS. A useful free tool, not really enterprise ready – but an important start for AppSense who are now looking at how to enable organisations to better adopt consumerization into their IT strategy.

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Dell has joined the the highly competitive and technically diversified single box desktop virtualization market in partnership with Citrix to package VDI-in-a-Box as a virtual appliance. The somewhat awkwardly named Dell “DVS Simplified 1010″ appliance is built on the Dell PowerEdge R710 rack server that comes pre-installed with Citrix XenServer 5.6 and VDI-in-a-Box 5.0.

My answer to my computing needs is a very high end Windows 7 desktop, a very low end Windows 7 Netbook and an Android phone. I am and will always be a non-fan of the vertically integrated Apple model. I will probably always pay a price in terms of complexity of my computing life for this bias. But being a free market economist at heart, I like Shrek believe in the value of layers. I believe that processors, system software, device design, operating system design, applications development and content are all separate disciplines with completely separate bases of comparative advantage. I believe that attempts to integrate across these layers in a proprietary and closed way will fail. Windows computers have always outsold Mac’s for this reason. Android phones are already outselling iPhones for this reason. If Microsoft could get its act together on the phone and tablet front, it could restore the natural economic order of the marketplace to the device industry. But that is the subject of another post.

Mitel and VMware combine technologies to Bring VDI to the Call Center

While desktop virtualization may never achieve the desktop dominance that was foretold by many analysts, new technologies continue to appear that both reduce costs and increase deployment opportunities. This week, Unified Communications (UC) vendor Mitel Networks announced its first foray into the virtual workspace market by announcing support for the VMware View UC APIs within its Contact Center Solution to offer contact center employees access to cloud-based unified desktop and communications services wherever they may be.

HP Delivers High Performance and Security to Thin Client Line

As Virtual Desktops become standard components of the entire desktop environment there are increasing demands on the end point devices to provide the performance of legacy desktop computers they are replacing. Devices with more memory, faster processors and expandable peripheral device support are quickly replacing the utility devices most associated with thin clients. On Monday February 13, 2012 HP announced the release a new class of thin client devices that are designed to address the end user performance needs and adds security architecture to combat increasing security threats.

SSD options for Virtual (and Physical) Environments: Part I Spinning up to speed on SSD

Solid-state devices (SSDs) are data storage memory (Figure 1) mediums that utilize semiconductor based memoires as opposed to magnetic media found in hard disk drives (HDDs) or magnetic tape. Semiconductor memories include ultra fast volatile dynamic random access memory (DRAM) commonly found as main memory (e.g. RAM) in servers along with and non-volatile memory (NVM) typically NAND flash. Nand flash based SSDs can be found in cameras (as SD cards), cell phones, iPods, and PDAs, as well as in notebooks, net books, laptops, tablets, and workstations. SSDs are also appearing in larger servers, appliances, and storage systems from consumer to enterprise level.

Quest has for many years found itself as third-place runner-up to Citrix and VMware in the VDI business. In some respects this was justified, in others much less so. Quest has neither the resources or virtualization focus of Citrix and VMware, nor does it have the same the channel depth or marketing budget of its competitors, making it too easy to paint a picture of Quest being an also ran. However, at the same time Quest has been a credible competitor to Citrix for much longer than VMware and has managed to deliver a unified VDI and RDS solution in vWorkspace – something that neither Citrix nor VMware have been able to achieve as yet. More importantly, as Citrix’s level of innovation in XenDesktop and XenApp has slowed, and VMware has focused more End User Computing resources on Horizon, Quest has sensed an opportunity and last week’s release of vWorkspace 7.5 clearly shows that it is making the most of it.