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.

2011 Year in Review: Presentation Virtualization

So this is Christmas, and what have you done? Perhaps you sit, coffee in hand with a vague recollection of telling your boss just exactly how you thought all of this year’s decisions could have been done much, much, much better. Perhaps you told your team they were awesome, I mean like truly, truly awesome: that you loved them, that you loved them so, so much. Perhaps you’re looking for solace after a quick check of Facebook has shown exactly how you got the bruises down your right-hand side and gives insight into where your left shoe went. Perhaps you’re finally getting a chance to finally watch all those on-line presentations you put off until it was quiet.

Another year over.

It has been a while since we last updated our Presentation Virtualization Solutions whitepaper. Has nothing happened in the market in 2011? On the contrary, there was a good deal going on for Presentation Virtualization in a year that saw a new benchmark setting XenApp release from Citrix, Apple remove terminal services functionality, RES Software launch their reverse seamless technology and Ericom their HTML5 client.

If we consider what we saw in 2011, what can we expect in 2012?

Continue reading 2011 Year in Review: Presentation Virtualization

Who can outmanoeuvre Citrix Flexcast?

There are three fundamental difficulties facing any hosted desktop solution. They are :

1. What to do with the desktops that can’t be virtualised?

2. What to do with the desktops that can’t be virtualised?

and, most importantly,

3. What to do with the desktops that can’t be virtualised?

Of all the vendors in the hosted desktop space, Citrix has been delivering desktop virtualisation solutions the longest. As such, perhaps they are the most aware that an enterprise desktop strategy isn’t about delivering a single solution. A solution needs to be flexible enough to present a variety of services to a range of devices. This isn’t just about having different client support, but about delivering applications and data either to different environments: secure and insecure, managed and unmanaged, fat and thin.

Perhaps the most important aspect of Citrix’s product portfolio is its FlexCast model. Other hosted desktop vendors have a similar option. Some do not.

What is FlexCast? Why is it important to customers? Can a hosted desktop vendor survive without having something similar?

Continue reading Who can outmanoeuvre Citrix Flexcast?

A VDI desktop is no More Secure than a Standard Desktop

Our very own Texiwill hosts a weekly Virtualization Security Round Table podcast. This round table provides an open forum to discuss all things related to Virtualization, Virtual Environment and cloud computing security.  We’ve questioned before the benefits of a virtual desktop infrastructure with respect to security. Is VDI secure? Is VDI inherently more secure than “traditional desktops”? The article Virtual Desktop Security? Are They Secure? considered the VDI vendor claims that there are several big virtual desktop security wins such as

  • Centralized Management
  • Centralized Patching
  • Improved Availability
  • and importantly, data never leaves the data center

The article and the associated Bright talk presentation generated a good deal of interweb discussion, which in turn led to #73 in the Virtualization Security Round Table VDI desktops – are they really secure? The regular podcast team were joined by Simon Crosby (CTO @ Bromium), Tal Klein (Director Technical Marketing @ Citrix ) and Andrew Wood (Analyst @ TVP).

The discussion meandered in a lively fashion to answer the question – can VDI make your environment more secure than standard desktops?

Continue reading A VDI desktop is no More Secure than a Standard Desktop

Thames Water dips its toe in Desktone’s pool – DaaS throws off it’s waterwings?

Thames Water have signed up to give a sizable part of its desktop infrastructure management  to services built on Desktone’s VDI stack hosted and maintained by Molten Technologies.  Thames Water is the UK’s largest water and sewerage company, serving one of the world’s largest conurbations.  Is this a significant landmark for Desktop As-A-Service (DaaS) provision? The utility sector is very focused on costs, tends to be studiously following the curve rather than forging fast into uncharted waters. DaaS, for some, is still interesting concept, but has the perception of risk.

Thames Water CIO Aiden Heke said: “Our decision to invest in virtual desktop technology demonstrates our innovative approach and our long-term commitment to contain costs and boost staff productivity by improving flexibility and security. This supports our main aim of delivering the best possible service to our 14m customers.”

Sounds canny. But, what have Thames Water and Molten Technologies done with Desktone’s software? Is DaaS now a service that can accommodate a company with a client base of 14 million? Desktone had a major campaign around the $1/day desktop: is that’s what’s in use here? Indeed, are Desktone a software company, or a hosting company? Given the known costs and complexity of a virtual desktop infrastructure, can you only deliver a VDI if you situate your services in the cloud? Where does DaaS sit in comparison to a virtual desktop infrastructure?  Will Desktone leave Citrix and VMware in the Doldrums?

Continue reading Thames Water dips its toe in Desktone’s pool – DaaS throws off it’s waterwings?

Citrix XenApp 4.x, 5.x and 6.0 EOL is 2013. The End is Coming: Look Busy.

I had an interesting discussion with a customer around prioritisation of their services prior to Windows 2003 and Windows XP going end of life in 2014. As we saunter nonchalantly to the start of 2012, what must the focus be next year? You may well be having the same conversations. Let’s be honest, corporate change isn’t as dynamic as we’d like. This has it’s own positives, it’s own negatives.

Back to my customer. There is a business-influential Citrix XenApp estate hosted on Windows 2003. It has a reliable history: and if it ain’t broke…The client has a sizable user-base in central London, this estate is scheduled to be expanded to accommodate more remote working due to the Olympics: which will cause the greatest mass of people in one place that you can get in peace-time.

Granted, there was an understanding that the XenApp environment had a limited shelf-life. Granted, there was an understanding that because this was an external facing  service, End of Life (EOL) and the subsequent lack of ability to at least security patch the service could not be tolerated.

So, we have an interesting question. Windows 2003, Windows XP EOL is 2014. For all Citrix XenApp versions other than the most recent 6.5 release, EOL .. End. Of. Life. Continue reading Citrix XenApp 4.x, 5.x and 6.0 EOL is 2013. The End is Coming: Look Busy.

Ericom rethink virtual desktop use and offer AccessCloud to ISVs and Cloud Hosting Providers

One day, perhaps, all applications may be delivered within a web browser with back end services offered in the Cloud.  One day, perhaps, there will a single web standard that each and every web browser  adheres to. One day, perhaps, a web browser platform will offer the rich user interface and controls that a more traditional desktop OS can provide without a raft of add-ons and controls. However, as we mentioned in our article on The Rise of Application Operations and the Role for Next Generation APM Solutions the reality is that custom developed applications have been developed in countless different ways ranging from FoxPro and dBase, to Visual Basic​, C, C++, MFC, COM+.

This causes an issue for ISVs who have products developed using such technologies. How can they meet their customers’ demands to deliver the application to a wider range of devices; to charged for the application using a Software-as-a-Service model; indeed, to reduce the complexity and lead time for application delivery that is often associated with a traditional application that has to be installed locally within a client operating system. Moreover, is it possible to provide support and delivery of applications that require specific operating environment components as customers move to Windows 7 and beyond?

To attempt to resolve these requirements, Ericom Software have announced Ericom AccessCloud – a new initiative aimed at facilitating the adoption of Cloud-hosted services, including Software as a Service (SaaS), multi-tenancy, and billing and automatic provisioning solutions, by ISVs and cloud-hosting companies.

Continue reading Ericom rethink virtual desktop use and offer AccessCloud to ISVs and Cloud Hosting Providers

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