This week, Ericom announced the release of Ericom Connect v7, which promises increased scalability and easier administration of both virtual applications and desktops. In reviewing this product and spending some time under the hood, there are several interesting aspects to consider.
Ericom has traditionally been viewed as a virtualization solution appropriate for the small business market as well as for the smaller end of the mid-size market. But the infrastructure changes to this release make Ericom a player that can extend up into the larger enterprise market. Ericom has redesigned its product to use a new architecture called the “Ericom Connect Grid,” an advanced grid that is not dependent upon a database’s being always available. It functions via two services running on each server.
The new infrastructure enables the environmental data to run in memory, thus eliminating the database as a point of failure. While a database is still required, its primary purpose is not for millisecond-by-millisecond operations, and failure of the database does not impede user or administrative functionality.
Administration of Ericom Connect v7 is straightforward. Everything is contained within one console, and it is clear that the developers built the console with an eye toward ease of administration and functionality. In addition to concise tabs and settings appearing where expected, a number of “would be nice” administration items are included. For example, a launch analysis screen shows the output of a user resource request, making it easy to diagnose issues associated with session initiation and user logon.
Ericom is certainly not a new competitor in the virtualization market, and it has significant experience with its own protocol, Blaze. As with the bigger players that have their own protocol, users can fall back to native RDP if necessary. Connection to peripherals is inherent to Ericom’s native client, and through the browser, basic peripherals such as printers and file transfers are possible. The file transfer piece within the browser provides a logical (and cool!) UI that users will likely welcome. Further, published apps and desktops have long been part of the offering.
Ericom was promoting HTML5 and Chromebooks before they were cool, and this has helped it capture market share in the education industry in particular. Because school districts and other purchasers in the education market don’t have myriad administrators, architects, and engineers on board to create and maintain a virtualized environment, the simplistic approach that Ericom delivers seems to be gaining in popularity as it meets industry needs. Ericom also focuses on the health care and financial services industries, and it has plans to delve into the multitenant space in the future.
Like other vendors in the virtualization space, Ericom is seeking to chip away at the market share of Citrix’s premier XenApp/XenDesktop offering. In addition to offering a lower cost, Ericom has focused on administrative ease of use and reduced complexity. Both of these areas are ones in which Citrix has traditionally not scored well. Ericom Connect v7 is certainly evidence that Ericom has stepped up its game and demonstrated that it is a true contender in the virtualization space.
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