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.

StratoDesk enhance offering for converting PCs to ThinClient: NoTouch equals Zero Client?

DesktopVirtualizationComplexity, storage, remoting protocols, device access. There are so many “barriers to VDI adoption”, that you can wonder why people make the effort. Yet, a centralised desktop infrastructure does offer advantages in management, reliability, wider access and (hopefully) proximity to your data: successful business cases can, and are, being made. Less of the piangevole, more of the piacevole.

A common initiator for moving to virtual desktops is the transition away from existing PCs. Despite them still physically capable of powering-on in the morning and working steadily all day, they aren’t up to the heavy lifting that modern operating systems and applications demand: some of you reading may be able to relate on a number of levels. Yet, why refresh those devices as well given those units are now no longer doing the heavy lifting? Many utilise refresh budgets to fund the centralised desktop hardware. A common business case is, the new platform offers a virtuoso performance of business agility over the lentando offering of fixed desktops. However – how do you access these virtual desktops? The Force may well be a binding, metaphysical, and ubiquitous power, but you’re here and now: not a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

Yes, it is possible to purchase new devices – which are ever becoming cheaper, faster and better. However “new” is still an expense. Many opt to reduce their initial spend by re-provisioning existing PCs to thin clients.

To help accommodate this option, Stratodesk have announced the latest version of their NoTouch Desktop. NoTouch is a PC and thin-client re-purposing and management product. As well as supporting Citrix, VMware and Quest, Stratodesk have recently partnered with Desktone to offer easier access to Desktone DaaS desktops.

What does Stratodesk’s NoTouch Offer, and can Stratodesk assist in a easing deployment of virtualised desktop projects over and above simply deploying thin clients?
Continue reading StratoDesk enhance offering for converting PCs to ThinClient: NoTouch equals Zero Client?

News: VMware Welcomes Wanova – Is it a Mirage – does VMware finally get desktops?

Wanova100x30In the way that you stick you hand into your jeans pockets and find an unexpected high denomination bill neatly folded-up, we find that VMware has announced entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Wanova and in turn integrate their Mirage desktop management product into VMware’s End-User Computing (EUC) portfolio.

This  acquisition does indeed represent a very exciting and strategic addition for VMware.  The combination of VMware View and Wanova Mirage will be an an industry first pairing that could well dramatically redefine the VDI market: and first because there are no other products that operate like Mirage. It is increasingly common to find vendors acknowledging that a VDI-only solution is not enough. Citrix know it. Desktone  know it. Quest know it. Virtual Bridges know it. We’ve critiqued before that by having a VDI only view, VMware doesn’t “get” desktops. With their Wanova acquisition VMware is no longer restricted to only delivering centrally hosted virtual desktops.

What is it that Wanova’s Mirage can offer, and how does Mirage differ from other solutions?

Continue reading News: VMware Welcomes Wanova – Is it a Mirage – does VMware finally get desktops?

Liquidware enhance ProfileUnity with FlexApp: User Installed Apps – What’s in a name?

FlexAppArchi-149-90A common difficulty when transforming user workspaces is how to accommodate the unique, the different, the individual. A commonality between users is their desire to be different. A number of  vendors provide tools to decouple components of user workspaces, to provide for personalisation within a standard environment. This provides cost savings by allowing core standardisation, while reducing the impact on the user to change their working practices – allowing them to be as productive as possible. Still, keeping an individual’s settings persistent is all very well, how do you accommodate individual user’s applications?

Liquidware have announced the availability of the latest release of their user virtualization and profile management solution ProfileUnity.  ProfileUnity v5.0. now includes FlexApp, providing the ability not only to have settings persistent across sessions, but self-installed applications too. Allowing user installed applications is often cited as being an enabler for wider VDI/DaaS adoption.  Liquidware’s enhancement allows them to join the likes of AppSense and Citrix in providing such functionality.

Some may argue that allowing users unstructured access to install applications is what leads to high management costs. Some may argue that the user access rights required to deliver this service are all important. Are “User Installed Apps” truly important? It is nor hand, nor foot, nor arm, nor face, nor any other part belonging to a man. O, be some other name? How does Liquidware’s flexing of its innovative muscle stand v5.0 out?

Continue reading Liquidware enhance ProfileUnity with FlexApp: User Installed Apps – What’s in a name?

And then there were three – NxTop Enterprise morphs to XenClient Enterprise

DesktopVirtualizationLike waking up from a scene in a night’s dream where you were on a lovely walk, to find yourself stood outside of your now locked hotel room wearing nothing but your underwear, NxTop customers and resellers may well view the purchase of Virtual Computer by Citrix with a chill, heart-quickening, “right then, what next”?

Virtual Computer’s free offerings are no longer available, NxTop Enterprise edition gets a modest per user price increase. Support is still available. It is likely any road-map will take a wobble. What is now XenClient Enterprise is one of three client hypervisor versions that are offered by the application delivery leader who was, up until Friday, ‘the investing competition’.

Virtual Computer was a leader in the Type I client hypervisor delivery platform: although to be fair, it wasn’t a big race card.  In comparison to its cousin XenClient, at technical level it had better instance management options, a pre-packaged virtual machine instance with Chrome and Citrix Receiver, far wider hardware support and integrated systray tools within Microsoft Windows VMs. The latest 4.0.6 released earlier this month, continued  a steady improvement in management options for configurations. More importantly for the enterprise – Virtual Computer had the better links than the with hardware manufacturers with a strategy to integrate new hardware releases in weeks rather than months. Perhaps most interestingly, NxTop was highlighted as an solution that strongly aligned with Intel’s Intelligent Desktop Virtualisation (IDV).

VDI too expensive? VDI too remote? Have you considered IDV – manage centrally, run locally?

Yet despite innovation awards, the client-side hypervisor leader found it hard to gain momentum. Talking to CIO/CTOs the technology and you come across a number of obstacles in new accounts. Where does it fit with a BYOD strategy? What advantage does it offer over solutions such as LANDesk, Dells’ KACE or Microsoft’s SCCM? Will it run on a Mac? How does it deliver to my tablet?

The integration time for XenClient Enterprise likely to be 12-18 months. If you’re running  NxTop now, how will that impact your roll-out or continued delivery?  If you dismissed XenClient and went XenDesktop – should you stop? How could Citrix accommodate a product that can be pitched directly against XenDesktop and VDI-in-a-box? Why and will Citrix embrace IDV?

Continue reading And then there were three – NxTop Enterprise morphs to XenClient Enterprise

Desktone v5 angling to hook Service Providers from Citrix’s FlexCast

desktone100x30Just in case Citrix doesn’t have anything to talk about next week at their San Francisco Synergy, Desktone release v5.0 of their Desktop-As-A-Service platform. Previous releases focused on delivering a VDI environment (i.e. instances of hosted desktop  OSes): with the v5.0 release, Desktone have architected a platform to allow resellers and service providers to deliver and support heterogeneous end user-environments. With a  Desktone v5 platform, it is possible to deliver:

•    Hosted Full-Featured VDI:  to allow delivery of a desktop OS that replicates the experience of a physical Windows or Linux desktop. Continue reading Desktone v5 angling to hook Service Providers from Citrix’s FlexCast

AppSense StrataApps – to self install apps, or not to self install apps, that is the question

AppSense_Company_Logo_100x30AppSenseLabs have released StrataApps, their long anticipated User Managed Applications Solution. StrataApps enables you to:-

  • introduce your own applications into your desktop even in a locked-down corporate desktop and without the need for Administrative Rights
  • Create a self-service ‘Follow-Me Applications’ set between various computing devices.

While newer tablet and smartphone devices have given users a very slick application discovery and installation method, PC environments have not been as quick to catch up.  For home users, application conflicts and issues can arise when different versions of applications, or similar applications are installed. For corporate users, user self-installation is fundamentally a dark, unhappy place with issues around support, stability and licensing: in a corporate environment it is often easier to decree user installed applications is impossible.

And yet, it could be so much easier – for home and corporate users – if there was a facility to install an application in such a way that it integrates into your existing environment but could cleanly be removed at any time – not only uninstalling itself, but  returning your environment back to the point it was before the installation.

Good things come to those who wait. Have AppSenseLabs released a proper reward for patience with  StrataApps? It is very likely you don’t have user installed applications now: has the time taken for delivery of a user-installed tool been too long? Has the moment passed? What does StrataApps do, and what does it not do?

Continue reading AppSense StrataApps – to self install apps, or not to self install apps, that is the question

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