News: Virtual Computer Turns VDI on Its Head with NxTop 4

Virtual Computer have redefined virtual desktops delivery with their latest release, NxTop 4. In NxTop4 Virtual Computer have aimed to further improve their client-side hypervisor desktop management solution and to better harness the power of end-point PCs for local execution rather than requiring major investments in virtual machine server farms.

NxTop 4 includes the following new capabilities:

  • Hot-Desking on Stateless End-Points: Deployment option that provides fast near-native performance by harnessing the power of local execution while data is hosted on a storage array, providing a high-performance and low-cost alternative to server-hosted VDI for use cases such as hot-desking, or where data is not permitted to leave the data center.
  • VMware vSphere/ESXi and Citrix XenServer Support: Production support for a broad set of server virtualization platforms including VMware vSphere/ESXi and Citrix XenServer, allowing IT departments to roll out NxTop servers for management data repositories as appliances into their existing virtualized server infrastructure.
  • Server VMs on PC Infrastructure:  Ability to centrally create, provision, and patch virtual Server 2008 instances on PC infrastructure, enabling companies to leverage underutilized desktop PCs in remote offices to run server operating systems.  Powerful shared image management capabilities allow for failsafe one-to-many patching with built-in rollback that eliminates the risk to production environments.
  • Green Computing: Remote power management policies enable IT departments to control end-user laptop and desktop power usage from a central management interface, driving down power costs for end-point devices.  Local execution dramatically reduces the need for server infrastructure even when data is hosted centrally in a storage array, slashing data center power and cooling costs.
  • Large Scale Enterprise Installer: The large scale enterprise installer allows IT departments to install NxTop Engine to tens or hundreds of thousands of PCs in a distributed environment across any number of branch offices without visiting a single PC.
  • 50+ Additional Enhancements: Ranging from accelerated data encryption optimized for Intel® vPro enabled processors to single-sign-on to advanced management capabilities for shared computers in training rooms and classrooms.

Since the last NxTop release – a number of Virtual Computer’s client-hypervisor solution competitors have all looked to up the ante. MokaFive introduced their richly featured BareMetal Player and are working closely with Quest, which we’ve spoken about previously. Just before VMworld, Citrix announced XenClient v2.0.

However, Virtual Computer’s new features help to set NxTop apart. No other client hypervisor vendor offers a solution that allows you to boot your end-device from a SAN. This feature provides a compelling hybrid between centralised services (in terms of management of the OS and maintenance of user data) and local execution (utilising cheaper distributed endpoints rather expensive server hardware), very much offering a change in the model of delivery of virtual desktops: although with a caveat of it being early to call the full range of use cases given we’re yet to understand the dynamics of SAN disk performance on such a new model.

The facility to perform large scale enterprise deployments will be a boon to any sizable deployment. Granted, Virtual Computer have worked with vendors, such as Lenovo, to have NxTop pre-installed on new-devices, but having the facility to automate the deployment of  the client-hypervisor engine reduces time to delivery and can dramatically shorten project timescales.

It is useful to see Server VMs being supported – widening the use cases for client-hypervisor deployment beyond PC management for desktops to PC management for almost any operating system.  While support for VMware vSphere/ESXi and Citrix XenServer Support is new and welcome, the emphasis here is on providing support for the deployment of NxTop Center management environment in branch-office scenarios, or additional management servers within the LAN. There is still a requirement for at least one server to have Microsoft Hyper-V installed in order to manage and maintain the images for deployment.

That said, NxTop 4 pushes forward Virtual Computer’s PC management capabilities and keeps its client hypervisor solution towards the fore.

For more information: Virtual Computer Turns VDI on Its Head with NxTop 4