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.

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.

Today Citrix announced the release of XenDesktop 4, their next generation Virtual Desktop solution with the promise of being able to deliver a right sized desktop to any user in an organization. Along with 70 enhancements and new features, Citrix is positioning XenDesktop as the most flexible and open architecture solution supporting all types of client devices and hypervisors including Citrix XenServer, Microsoft Hyper-V, VMware ESX and vSphere.

Akamai Technologies, Inc. announce the industry’s first managed Internet service for optimizing delivery of virtualized applications and desktops. Based on Akamai’s IP Application Accelerator solution this new service is designed to help enterprises realize the cost efficiency, scalability and global reach inherent with the Internet to deliver VDI solutions offered by companies such as Citrix, Microsoft, and VMware.

Virtual desktop infrastructure solutions present organizations with an alternative for deploying traditional PC desktops. Think that a virtual desktop is going to be the panacea to alleviate your current desktop woes? There is much that needs to be considered before rolling out your first solution. In this analysis I take a look at the necessary steps an organization must take to determine the best desktop solution for their environment.

LiquidWare Labs has announced a new pricing and packaging option for its StratusSphere platform that was specifically designed for Managed Services Providers (MSP’s) who have an existing business managing fat client desktops for large enterprises, and who wish to virtualize all or a part of these desktops. This new offering is called the Managed Virtual Desktop Alliance program, and it is all about helping both the MSP and the MSP’s customer benefit from the cost savings associated with moving a physical desktop into a virtualized state. LiquidWare also announced that Perot Systems (recently acquired by Dell) is the first member of the Virtual Desktop Alliance program.

The traditional Enterprise Desktop PC can be said to be on borrowed time. With marketing machines re-heralding the benefits of centralisation removing that Enterprise Desktop PC for Thin Client appears to be a far more prudent use of refresh budgets. While Thin Clients can, and do, replace Enterprise Desktops, there are major considerations to be made in their deployment. Multi-media, local device access, network access and mobile support, through to user acceptance and printing are often overlooked at the start of a project. Focus on understanding where where your costs are now and how you can best use the investment in deploying a Thin Client solution to reduce those costs in the coming years to realise savings on your enterprise workspace spend.

In trying to re-use some old server hardware I re-vsisted VirtualBox/Ubuntu, a viable and completely free Open Source option for non-virtualization-enabled hardware. It is a neat solution, simple and well-supported, but the open source version of VirtualBox is nobbled to make it extremely awkward to use, in a different way to VMware’s nobbling of the non-Open Source (but also free) ESXi.

Now is the time, for Oracle/Sun to put all the features of VirtualBox into the Open Source version, and let it live on, perhaps not for use on Linux servers, but as free virtualization platform for other operating systems on Windows. If Apple ever loosens up the licencing on MacOS, it could turn 15 million PCs into Macs – overnight.

VMware’s “No OS” Application Platform Strategy

VMware’s SpringSource acquisition will result in VMware directly implementing the SpringSource Java runtimes in a VMware Guest. VMware will also work to allow other open source application frameworks like Ruby on Rails, Python and PHP to run directly in VMware Guests. VMware will provide value added API’s to these run time frameworks, that will make deploying and managing applications built to these frameworks and run on VMware easier. This will put pressure on Microsoft to allow .Net to also run in this manner – potentially setting the stage for the dis-intermediation of Windows as an applications platform.