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.
Norskale has released v2 of VUEM, their enterprise grade User Environment Management (UEM) product.
User Environment Management is a key capability in delivering a modern flexible, reliable, and secure application delivery environment. While UEM can provide consistency across different platforms (be they desktops, laptops, or a hosted or shared virtual desktop environment), UEM is not just a technology to enable desktop virtualization. UEM can be used to accelerate logon times (improving device roaming capabilities); make migration from old to new operating systems and applications less complicated (enabling more rapid change); and can control, facilitate, and enforce user access to applications and data resources, assisting in securing environments when they are accessed outside of the maze.
Norskale believes that performance, simplicity of use, and a low cost of ownership are key factors when choosing a workspace management product. While Norskale is a new venture, the VEUM product has been available since 2011 and does have a range of case studies and testimonies. Norksale’s goal for VUEM is to deliver a product that allows organisations to maintain user satisfaction: give extremely fast login times and a reliable and consistent environment that is easy to use. Yet, Norskale must compete against far more than Shadow, Speedy, Bashful, and Pokey. UEM is focused on managing a Microsoft Windows desktop workspace. While Microsoft has improved their tool selection, third party vendors such as AppSense, Liquidware Labs, RES Software, et.al, have an established place.
Browsium have released Catalyst, a browser management utility designed to make deploying multiple browsers in the enterprise a manageable reality.
The browser is a gateway to the Internet, to applications, to data, to the corporate intranet. Outside of the office, its not uncommon to switch between browser versions between devices: or even have different browsers on the same device. My Google App world is ably accessed from a Chrome experience synchronised between devices, but I have Internet Explorer on-hand, and Firefox still gets a run out all be it increasingly less so.
Indeed, for many corporations such care-free browser relationships are equally common. This might be because different browser versions are required to maintain access to legacy applications; to give users more choice; an effort to reduce the impact of a browser security issue. Alternatively, because control of different browser environments has been complex in the past, it is deemed less cumbersome and risky to mandate a single browser environment.
With the release of Catalyst, can care-free relationships be afforded a level of sensible protection? Can restrictive single-browser choices be relaxed and more business user friendly? Browsium intend Catalyst to reduce helpdesk calls and improve IT security allowing more granular control of all browsers in the enterprise and how does it do that?
We’ve discussed the fact that VDI appliance makers were making good progress simplifying adoption of a virtual desktop infrastructure. An appliance-based route to market can be seen as win-win: being designed both to reduce cost and complexity of implementation (for the customer) and shorten sales cycles (for the vendor). So goes the theory. To understand this theory further one VDI appliance vendor, Pivot3, commissioned Dimensional Research to survey global IT in order to get real-world insight into the state of VDI.
The survey showed that over 80% of respondents had VDI in their current strategy. Over 50% of those deploying VDI would utilize new hardware. What was perhaps more interesting was that traditional stall points of VDI, hardware complexity and security, took a back-seat in a list of concerns. The appliance model was undoubtedly popular, but if that problem is solved – what were the main concerns of organisations?
How good an idea is it to virtualize XenApp? Way back in 2010, when more of the poles were ice, we asked is virtualizing Citrix XenApp a waste of time and effort? There were a number of benefits identified: hardware abstraction allowing easier image management and OS upgrades; options for higher availability and faster recovery, even failover; virtualization-enabled silo consolidation; and importantly, better management of user capacity on servers.
Yet, with XenApp running on Windows 2008 R2 memory limitations are of far less issue. Introducing a hypervisor has an overhead which can impact user density and can change Microsoft server license costs per physical server. Do these considerations outweigh other benefits? Hypervisor technology and performance has moved on considerably – what is the impact of that? What other services can virtualized XenApp drive?
Nivio have announced a DaaS solution aimed at SME space. Offering access to Microsoft Windows on any device, rentable applications, and data storage in the cloud, it sounds as if Nivio’s service could be just the ticket for the tablet wielding, dead-PC shunning organisations with a workforce who have their own devices, and need to team collaboration with access to Windows based applications.
Yet, Nivio have created a service offering delivering Windows applications to Windows, Mac, iOS and Android devices. A web service providing common file storage to store user and group files for that can be syncronised to devices to work offline for editing directly, or automatically made available within the public cloud hosted Windows desktop service. A desktop service that has an on-demand, rentable application interface. User management is in your own hands. While Nivio are targeting their market at the 20-50 user sized organisation space which suggests small business, Nivio are getting a number of calls from project teams in larger organisations.
What are Nivio doing that is different? Will this model be successful? What, if anything, can be learned by other DaaS providers, and what in turn could be learned by Nivio?