You know you’re not going to have a good day when your father, rather than offering you the chance to rule the galaxy by his side, announces your demise. In 1981 Mark Dean was part of the IBM team that delivered the Personal Computer (PC): yet Mr Dean has looked at his stricken progeny, clinging afraid and alone above an abyss and said – “do you know what, I’d prefer a tablet”.
In the past 30 years the PC has been a device that has been adopted by both the consumer and corporate markets. Back in the day, applications were supplied from a centralised cloud service, billed on usage: users accessed that service via a thin client. “Personalisation”, indeed “getting processing time” was complex. A young upstart company called Apple introduced the Apple II. It may have started as a consumer device, but the PC was rapidly adopted as a corporate IT tool to drive agility and productivity. In this galaxy, not so long ago, IT literate users railed against expensive and rigid mainframes and demanded… a PC. They got it. Arguably, corporate IT departments have spent thirty years trying to rest back some semblance of control and help the businesses accommodate the high costs of unmanaged and chaotic environments.
AppSense, a leading provider of user virtualization technology, and Centrix Software, provider of unified end-user computing solutions, have announced a strategic partnership to provide organizations with a comprehensive, user-centric transformation program. Do you need a user-centric transformation program? How could this alliance help your business manage IT beyond the ‘single-PC-for-every-user’ era? If they can help you, are they your only hope? Will it justify your CFO’s iPad?
Citrix recently announced the acquisition of RingCube, adding the vDesk solution to their virtual desktop delivery tool kit. This is a solution I have followed for some time now, and I am looking forward to seeing how Citrix integrates vDesk into the XenDesktop stack.
RingCube vDesk delivers a complete desktop environment without having to virtualize the underlying operating system. It does this by leveraging the host’s operating system files, and layering on a policy-based workspace environment that can have different applications, domain affiliation, and security and network settings than those of the host machine. When looking at how vDesk might be used, I quickly have two thoughts.
VMware’s next version of View will, should, possibly, hopefully include the Windows profile optimisation solution that VMware bought from RTO Software. The intention was to ensure VMware would, at last, have an in-house solution to make accessing non-persistent desktops less cumbersome, getting View on par with other VDI vendors who have offered some form of integrated profile management solution for some time. But since VMware’s purchase – Citrix has acquired RingCube.
Delivering a virtual desktop OS to users is a mere bagatelle. Providing a locked-down, standardized workspace to task-based users can be straight forward, but not every company just has users focused on a single set of tasks. If a desktop virtualisation project is to be successful, delivering services to autonomous users is key: those users are more likely to be the organisation’s greater revenue generators, they are more likely to be more demanding in terms of resources, they are more likely to want to access their applications and data from a range devices. They are also more likely to kick up a fuss when a solution doesn’t work. That said, regardless of the type of user it is more likely they don’t care what OS is, rather can they use the applications they need and can they get access to their data.
As we’ve mentioned before if Presentation Virtualization/Terminal services are excluded, VDI hailed as the next generation of desktop solutions from the likes of Citrix, Quest and VMware, still hold less then 3% of the desktop market. Many CIOs have been holding back from taking the plunge from moving to a virtualised desktop model. A profile management service in View would have brought parity with other VDI solutions – but would it bring a spring in sales? Will VMware’s investment in RTO justify the money, or does the solution that they have now deliver too little, too late? Is a profile optimisation solution alone good enough?
This also leads to the question – does VDI need User Virtualization, or does User Virtualization need VDI?
Managing a user’s desktop persona and making it extend across multiple desktop delivery platforms is a key component in any company’s desktop strategy. User Virtualization describes a category of solutions that capture and manage the end user experience that allows a “follow me” feature of the desktop persona.
In a press release on June 29, 2011 AppSense announced that its User Virtualization Platform is now a core building block of HP’s new Client Virtualization Reference Architecture. Along with Microsoft, VMware and Citrix, AppSense User Virtualization has been recognized by HP as a crucial technology for a successful architecture that meets the goals for client virtualization.
In 1436 Johannes Gutenberg collaborated with a gem cutter and a paper mill owner to seek seed funding from venture capitalists to began work on the ‘Printing Press’. Their invention began the ‘Print Revolution’ driving a wider spread of knowledge and new understanding, innovation and industry. Printing is so fundamental that it is often overlooked as an IT service when migrating to virtualised desktops. In Part I, we considered issues with distributed printing and what printing functions you should consider for your desktop architecture.
VDI Printing. Is it the Nemesis it was with Presentation Virtualisation? If so would client hypervisors help, or is it that traditional desktops delivery is still the best method? In Part II we’ll consider the core printing options for the likes of Citrix XenDesktop, Microsoft RDS, Quest vWorkspace and VMware View; and how they match to our printing considerations. Do you still need third party products to make your print solution effective? We’ll take an overview of solutions from ThinPrint, triCerat and UniPrint to help find out.
Hopefully you can use this knowledge to avoid any user revolution to your hosted desktop implementation, and instead, press on to get the best printing solution for your organisation.