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.

Citrix have invested an unspecified amount of money in Kaviza whose grid architecture eliminates the expensive infrastructure that VDI solutions. With Kaviza’s solution all the functionality needed to provision and manage virtual desktops is consolidated into a single virtual appliance that scales on commodity servers. Will this announcement herald a major take-up of VDI? Indeed, can you really offer a turnkey solution to support your desktop centralisation strategy?

Virtual Computer’s release of NxTop version 2.0 of this month continues to prove their leadership in client-side virtualization by delivering robust features to meet the needs of the corporate desktop. The delayed release of Citrix’ XenClient and VMware’s Client Virtualization Platform (CVP) to the market has left few options for customers whose virtual desktop implementations need to address a larger offline or disconnected use case.

On March 18, Microsoft embarked on a major offensive to focus the desktop virtualisation market away from VMware View. Microsoft announced updates for their desktop virtualization technologies and solutions, including virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). The question is, are these announcements marketing hype or do they actually help deliver an improved VDI experience? Indeed, are you a VMware View in peril? The announcements from Microsoft and Citrix to little to impact on this marketing statement especially when we consider that, licensing changes aside, this announcement is an announcement of things to come, not an announcement of things available now.Perhaps an effective rescue for VMWare’s VDI will be to for VMware to deliver their client side hypervisor first and offer a single management environment for a business desktop delivery, regardless of device.

Both Presentation Virtualisation and Desktop Virtualization can be used to provide a Windows desktop experience and to deliver applications, such as Microsoft Office, not only to desktop hardware that might be older but to non-Windows desktops (e.g. Linux PCs. Apple Macs or Thin Client devices). Both virtualization technologies can help your business centrally manage and support applications allowing you to make savings in improved productivity. Moreover, such centralization technologies can extend applications beyond your network – to home workers, to contract staff, to roaming users – and to an ever growing set of devices – be it a netbook, a Windows Mobile device or an iPhone.

VMware has acquired the Virtual Profiles, Pinpoint, and Discover assets of RTO Software. This will raise the bar on the other vendors of desktop virtualization platforms (Microsoft and Citrix), but will also leave room for more granular User Environement Management approaches from vendors like RES Software, LiquidWare Labs, Tricerat, and when they ship – UniDesk.

The grid approach to desktop virtualization, offered by vendors like Kaviza and Synchron offers several advantages in terms of cost and flexible use of hardware resources. The cost savings come from not requiring a SAN. The implications of no SAN are no VMotion, no HA and no DRS. However Citrix XenApp has proven that user and application centralization can be effectively managed without these features.

Let’s start this analysis with a basic question. Is there any rational reason for VMware and Citrix to make peace with each other, and develop the desktop virtualization market in concert with one another instead of in competition with each other? In other words if Citrix were to add its value to the core pieces of VMware View, would this be a good thing or a bad thing?