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.

One of the cool things about attending VMworld every year is seeing what is new on the horizon and this year, ironically, there is something called Project Horizon and the first milestone of that project called VMware Horizon Application Manager. Horizon is a hosted service that will centrally manage the provisioning, access and usage of software-as-a-server (SaaS) applications while at the same time applying the companies standardized security and access controls. This will give the end users of the application the ability to use the applications via VMware ThinApp or View products to stream the application across multiple devices all with a single login. The end users will also have self-service access to a corporate store for their SaaS and Web-based applications. Managing these applications will be completely user based with no need to worry about the underlying device the software or application is running on.

The challenge for Citrix is to position their VDI portfolio effectively. At the very least there should be a standardised license plan and migration path from (or to) the grid and non-grid solutions. There is potential to remove the reduced functionality versions of XenDesktop. Most importantly – to have a license model that allows organisations to make a choice of technology that fits their need, not their size. Can Citrix FlexCast be truly flexible if it ignores the value that having a grid technology can bring not only to the SMB market – but to any sized enterprise?

Virtual Computer have redefined virtual desktops delivery with their latest release, NxTop 4. In NxTop4 Virtual Computer have aimed to further improve their client-side hypervisor desktop management solution and to better harness the power of end-point PCs for local execution rather than requiring major investments in virtual machine server farms.

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.

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.