The Virtualization Practice

Presentation Virtualization

Presentation Virtualization is an application delivery method that delivers users desktops and applications from a shared server, AKA server based computing. This method of delivering applications to users focuses upon running an instance of each Windows desktop operating system application i.e., Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Office for each user on a shared instance of a Windows Server operating system. ...
The most popular product in this category is Citrix XenApp and its predecessors which include Citrix Presentation Server, and Citrix MetaFrame. In the 6.0 releases of its products, Citrix bundled XenApp into XenDesktop. In the 7.0 releases of its products, XenApp has been made available separately again. Microsoft also has a product in this category – Microsoft Remote Desktop Services, but this offering is mostly used in smaller implementations that do not require the enterprise class features that Citrix offers.

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.

Microsoft Windows MultiPoint Server – globally available from March 1, 2010 – is a “shared resource computing solution designed for educational institutions”.  It is a Presentation Virtualization solution based on Windows 2008 server, and sharing codebase with Remote Desktop Server (i.e. the product formerly known as Terminal Services). It is designed to deal with a specific…

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.

Project Virtual Reality Check have released their Phase 2 white paper on Terminal Server/RDS workloads running on the latest generation Intel processor: the Xeon 5500 series (Nehalem). Besides providing some great figures to support the adoption of Intel’s Nehalem to drive high demand virtualized workloads, this is an interesting and important comparison document for those considering centralised desktop virtualisation.

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?

Can your businesses increase productivity and save money by implementing a Bring your own Computer (BYOC) program? Are there benefits in giving staff a free choice of PC technology (be that a Windows, Mac, Linux, or other devices – perhaps even an iPad) if you give them a cash allowance to purchase and use their own PC for company and personal use? Are there pitfalls?

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