All posts by Andrew Wood

Andrew is a Director of Gilwood CS Ltd, based in the North East of England, which specialises in delivering and optimising server and application virtualisation solutions. With 12 years of experience in developing architectures that deliver server based computing implementations from small-medium size business to global enterprise solutions, his role involves examining emerging technology trends, vendor strategies, development and integration issues, and management best practices.

Client Hypervisors: Intelligent Desktop Virtualization too clever for its own good?

DesktopVirtualizationIn 2011, we asked if  Client Hypervisors will drive will the Next Generation Desktop. Yet, other desktop virtualization industry experts, such as Ron Oglesby, decided the technology was a dead man walking, writing off Type 1 Client  Hypervisors.

Fight? Fight? Fight?

While VMware moved away from client hypervisors, they had to agree that an end user compute device strategy must encompass non-VDI. Their Mirage technology can be considered desktop virtualization, but it is not a client hypervisor. Client hypervisor vendors such as Citrix (who subsumed Virtual Computer’s NxTop) , MokaFive, Parallels, Virtual Bridges and joined by Zirtu. Organisations like  WorldView look to innovate on desktop vitualization through containers rather than full virtualization.

Tablets. Touch Screen capable laptops. Hybrid devices with detachable screens. The netbook might be dead, or they could just be resting. The presence of tablets has undeniably shaken the netbook market but businesses still need powerful, capable laptops.

Bring Your Own Pencil aside – there is still a need to manage “stuff”: still large and small organisations who need to manage the delivery of IT including the end device. The question remains how are devices, and the all important data and applications on them, managed? Hosted and session based desktops have their place – but offline capable device requirements will remain.  Is Intelligent Desktop Virtualization the same as client hypervisors?

Continue reading Client Hypervisors: Intelligent Desktop Virtualization too clever for its own good?

News: Microsoft System Center Advisor now a FREE service

Microsoft100x30Microsoft has announced that it will offer System Center Advisor for free to its customers in supporting countries. System Center Advisor is a cloud service that enables IT Professionals to proactively avoid problems resulting from server configuration issues. It can help you resolve issues faster by providing access  to current and historical configuration data for a deployment.  System Center Advisor can also assist in reducing downtime by providing suggestions for improvement and notifying users of key updates specific to their configuration
Continue reading News: Microsoft System Center Advisor now a FREE service

Touch to Kill the VDI Star?

Businesses today waltz with the end of the PC. AppSense’s Jon Rolls wrote an interesting blog post on how the Windows desktop has not ceased to be  in the post-PC era. For many businesses the corporate PC and the corporate laptop are increasingly supplemented by a personal tablet, personal laptop, personal smartphone. Perhaps if corporate IT moved faster (or depending on your viewpoint, businesses were willing to invest more in IT), then the rising reality of users believing they must bring in personal devices to be productive would halt, possibly even recede

Other touch capable OSes and screen vendors are available
Other touch capable OSes and screen vendors are available

Yet, even if the organisation can wrest control back from tablet-wielding users by providing appropriate devices, given consumer device trends today those devices will very likely be touch capable, and this trend will increase. I attended an Intel event recently where the speaker reported that at a recent innovation environment held at a school, 99% of the submissions from the innovative teenagers expected any IT interaction to be touch/gesture control rather than a keyboard; not voice either—you can tell Star Trek hasn’t been on TV for a while. Kids today, eh?

Virtualised desktops have one fundamental advantage over physical desktops: they can be transferred between devices. Every other value point for VDI (availability, manageability, security) has a counter point with a physical desktop. For many, transference is a significant productivity benefit, especially if that transference is to a personal device.

If the interaction interface changes so dramatically, if your tablet virtual desktop experience is poor because that interface isn’t designed or can’t accommodate touch, will that hamper VDI dominance?

Could it lead to an early demise?

Continue reading Touch to Kill the VDI Star?

Atlantis ILIO Persistent VDI 4.0 – VDI Game Changer?

DesktopVirtualizationAtlantis Computing have released the first in-memory storage solution for persistent VDI. Setting aside the remoted experience, peripheral support, licensing and off-line access – the most nemesising nemesis for VDI is hardware scale. A major hardware limiting factor is storage performance.

In a transition from physical PCs to virtual work spaces you can move 50,1000,20,000 people from an environment where everyone has their own hard drive in their own device, to a shared environment where there are (hopefully) no longer 50,1000,20,000 hard-drives.  You do this to achieve cost savings. Still, in the majority of instances, the desktop file system and the apps that run on it weren’t designed to understand such consolidation. Many a desktop project fails because the storage infrastructure wasn’t architected with these mismatches in mind.

Yet, desktop virtualization solutions have have matured to accommodate such issues. A range of increasingly impressive VDI appliances: dedicated drive arrays. Way back in 2010 we were reporting that Atlantis Computing were looking to Transform Desktop Computing with their  In Line Image and Optimization (ILIO) product. Atlantis Computing’s core ILIO product sought to address optimizing non-persistent VDI instances, then offered a RAM based solution with their ILIO DiskLess VDI, then presented a way to optimize Citrix XenApp instances. Atlantis’ offerings look to dramatically reduce the physical hardware required to support virtualized desktop infrastructures.

And now to their portfolio, Atlantis Computing add ILIO Persistent VDI 4.0. Some early stability issues aside, Atlantis have developed a strong and supportive market and expanded on it. What is in this release? If 2013 is to be the year of VDI – how does  ILIO Persistent VDI 4.0 help? Importantly, will Atlantis Computing’s  ILIO Persistent VDI  change the game?

Continue reading Atlantis ILIO Persistent VDI 4.0 – VDI Game Changer?

VDI vs RDSH: Squabbling Siblings or Embattled Enemies?

PresentationVirtualizationIn many a desktop virtualization project, there will be a around the type of desktop virtualisation to use. Before you even get to the entertaining “Citrix vs VMware vs Other”  quasi-religious debate, there will be a VDI vs RDSH altercation. It can altercate for days. Ultimately, no business question gets asked, nor decision made, as technical stags lock antlers. It is not unusual for this debacle to be silenced by someone simply getting tired of the PoC posturing and rolling out pallet loads of new PCs.

If any year is to be the year of virtual desktops, then it is not just simply a question of having nifty appliances, but also of having a better understanding of desktop virtualization solutions. A recent article from the BBC website on common language gave the ultimate benefit of a common understanding as “world peace”. If a better understanding between people can bring the laudable hope of goodwill unto man, then surely an easier corporate upgrade and better application access will be a mere bagatelle?

The options for purchase for VDI or RDSH, VDI or Terminal Services, for hosted desktops or session desktops are all the same conversation. RDSH is indeed on the back foot through regular re-marketing of terms. Presentation Virtualization Terminal Services and RDSH are the same thing: a multi-user server OS capable of hosting applications and desktops to remote users.

Increasingly, desktop virtualization vendors are ensuring they sit between both VDI and RDSH camps. Citrix obviously – XenApp and XenDesktop.  In our Presentation Virtualization whitepaper, every RDSH vendor has a VDI option. But also, “traditional” VDI vendors are being more savvy. Desktone offers a RDSH option. Teradici has delivered on their promise and recently announced Teradici Arch, a software solution for RDSH.

What are the similarities and differences between VDI and RDSH? What can calm everything down and make the combatants think about what it is that they have done?

Continue reading VDI vs RDSH: Squabbling Siblings or Embattled Enemies?

AppSense Live in the Now: DesktopNow Now More Than Just a Name Change?

www.appsense.comNow, this isn’t a question of how many times can I get now in the title in some sort of unusual Now Bingo game. In January, AppSense, quietly went about re-branding its Management Suite (consisting of Management Center, Application Manager, Environment Manager and Performance Manager) as  AppSense DesktopNow although it’s all official now.

Now, the reasoning was straightforward: while AppSense has a history in helping organisations manage the user workspace, they’ve also been working hard to broaden horizons. AppSense now has two other significant offerings, DataNow and MobileNow.

Now, eschewing suggestions from Interflora, rather than say it with flowers AppSense celebrated Valentines Day by announcing a number of enhancements to DesktopNow, including new enterprise features and capabilities. What are these? Are they more than just some in-play re-branding and how important are these changes in a world that, some say, no longer needs the PC?

Continue reading AppSense Live in the Now: DesktopNow Now More Than Just a Name Change?

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