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.

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?

Hosting desktops or applications on servers located in the data center, and implementing centralized computing technologies is one of the best ways to cut IT costs while also improving security, reliability, productivity and efficiency. Both Citrix and VMWare have high profiles offering their respective virtualisation solutions that enable centralisation. Yet if you are considering centralisation, do they offer your organisation a focused solution for your needs?

Indeed a challenge in migrating to a Hosted Virtual Desktop (HVD) solution is what to do with existing devices. Citrix’s High Definition User EXperience (HDX) technologies for example, typically relies on the end device supporting a Microsoft Windows operating system to deliver the best user experience. If that is the case, how will you manage the end device that delivers the user’s HVD? Vendors such as DevonIT, Igel, and 10ZiG would naturally suggest you replace your traditional PC with a Thin Client: vendors such as PanoLogic, Teradici and Wyse would highlight the advantages of Zero Client devices – yet moving away from existing devices is a costly exercise in terms of providing replacement devices. And indeed – still does not address off-line working.

Ulteo has just released Version 2 of its Open Virtual Desktop (OVD), an Open Source desktop broker product which is designed to deliver GUI applications running on Linux, Terminal Services and Windows to java-enabled browsers. Ulteo’s appeal is likely to be to more cost-conscious and linux-oriented organizations than the large enterprise customers of Citrix, VMware, Ericom, Systancia or Quest, but within these potentially new markets it can deliver many of the mangeability benefits of the existing proprietary products, and it has few competitors for its key feature of delivering both Linux and Terminal Services desktop applications through the same portal.