One week after Austin, TX-based Virtual Bridges Inc. announced that IBM is using its flagship VERDE solution to provide virtual desktop management and provisioning capabilities for the IBM Cloud Service Provider Platform, and just days after Desktone Inc. launched release 3.0 of its desktop cloud management service; Virtual Bridges is back in the news again with its announcement today of VERDE 5.

In VERDE, Virtual Bridges is offering a single solution capable of providing a carrier-class platform as used by IBM for its Cloud Service Provider Platform, as well as supporting enterprise ready private clouds, branch offices, and distributed desktops via its own client hypervisor platform. Virtual Bridges uses a KVM-based hypervisor optimized for desktop virtualization, the same basic hypervisor can run on both data center servers and desktop PCs running 64-bit Intel VT or AMD-V enabled processors. The adoption of a common hypervisor across both server and desktop platforms enables individual desktop workloads to be executed either in the data center or on the desktop without change.

Virtual Bridges breaks down VERDE into multiple components referred to as Core (i.e., Data Center), Branch (i.e., branch office), and LEAF (officially Live Environment to Access Format; i.e., endpoint) respectively. Core provides the conventional server hosted virtual desktop solution similar to that offered by VMware View, Citrix XenDesktop, etc.; LEAF is analogous to View’s “Local Mode”, providing support for disconnected operation with automatic bi-directional synchronization of all changes made back to the data center. The VERDE Branch technology is unique to Virtual Bridges, providing both a means of addressing high latency WAN links between branch office and data center, as well as a zero-administration disaster recovery/business continuity solution that supports fail back to the data center in the event that the branch office infrastructure fails. As well as providing support for locally hosted desktops, VERDE supports portable virtual desktop images that can be run from USB drives whilst still being centrally managed from and synchronized with the data center. VERDE uses a distributed and status connection broker architecture for maximum system scalability and resilience to individual component failures. Overall platform scalability is reported as being 10,000 servers,

New features in Verde 5 include support for the SPICE multimedia remote presentation protocol coupled with policy based remote presentation protocol selection (Virtual Bridges showing that they are not averse to learning from Citrix by branding this feature as “SmartCast”). Depending on requirements and location it is possible to designate RDP or SPICE as the connection protocol. For example, a local client connecting to a branch server would probably run the SPICE protocol for best use experience but might fall back to RDP to connect to data center hosted resources. VERDE also allows power users to choose their own protocols although it is hard to see many organizations enabling this level of control. K. N. Murali, Vice President – India at Servion Global Solutions Ltd. a global customer interaction management specialist, sees particular value in VERDE for call center deployments stating “We have successfully performed the preliminary validation of VERDE 5 with the Call Center software stacks from Avaya and Cisco and plan live deployments over the next couple of months. The bi-directional audio capabilities of the SPICE protocol combined with the simplicity and low costs of the VERDE 5 solution address the critical issues that have long hampered successful VDI deployments in the Call Center/BPO market.”

Virtual Bridges are being uniquely ambitious and similarly farsighted in offering a single platform capable of supporting everything from a small business environment all the way up to a carrier class cloud service. Its ability to provide branch office server hosted virtual desktops as part of a unified system architecture does much to overcome the high-bandwidth requirements imposed by the SPICE remote presentation protocol, while the availability of RDP provides a less bandwidth intensive fallback solution for data center hosted desktops. The business continuity advantages that the VERDE Branch architecture provides offers significant benefits for organizations with highly distributed environments with a need for continuous availability of business critical systems. it is possible to provide similar branch office business continuity solutions using other desktop virtualization platforms, but not without performing extensive customization of third-party components. From this perspective alone, organizations with highly distributed infrastructures that (for whatever reason) are not good candidates for public cloud services should put VERDE on their shortlist for desktop virtualization platforms.

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Simon Bramfitt (122 Posts)

Simon is an independent industry analyst covering enterprise desktop, mobile and application virtualization, delivery and management technologies.

He is an experienced solutions architect with unmatched insight into the challenges of designing large (200,000 seat plus) high availability presentation and desktop virtualization systems.

Simon was invited to join the Citrix Technology Professionals (CTP) group in May 2010 and joined the Virtualization Practice in September 2010

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