Just 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.
OnLive is on the verge of making a game-changing move in the VDI space. The game focused application delivery company announced their OnLive Desktop service at CES this year. OnLive Desktop claims to deliver a seamless Microsoft Windows desktop experience with cloud-accelerated web browsing and full Adobe Flash. The marketing talks of “instant-response multi-touch gestures“, “complete and convenient viewing and editing of even the most complex documents” and “high-speed transfer from cloud storage or Web mail attachments“. Sounds like something a CFO would bite your hand off for.
Still, delivering a ubiquitous desktop environment is a complex undertaking. Desktone tried punting to end users and then thought better of it. The default position when delivering desktops is to deliver a Microsoft Windows workspace: that’s what most users need and want to run their applications. However, a “use any device” model gets hampered by Microsoft’s VDA yearly license cost, and further constrained by the lack of a viable way of policing/validating VDA assignment. VDI can leave an enterprise open to Microsoft beating them with a stick for a host of additional end device licenses.
Have OnLive taken an impressive application delivery model and tried to apply it to windows desktops without necessarily thinking licensing through? Will the scalability and experience that Onlive have mean that VDI vendors should re-think their technology? Will the buzz that OnLive has created mean an new level of engagement with Microsoft, perhaps even a shotgun wedding? Will Onlive Desktop be the technology that prompts Microsoft to get its licensing-of-vdi house in order, properly enabling a Desktop-as-a-Service market: what better way to laugh in the face of Apple than to have most iPads running Windows 8?
Thames Water have signed up to give a sizable part of its desktop infrastructure management to services built on Desktone’s VDI stack hosted and maintained by Molten Technologies. Thames Water is the UK’s largest water and sewerage company, serving one of the world’s largest conurbations. Is this a significant landmark for Desktop As-A-Service (DaaS) provision? The utility sector is very focused on costs, tends to be studiously following the curve rather than forging fast into uncharted waters. DaaS, for some, is still interesting concept, but has the perception of risk.
Thames Water CIO Aiden Heke said: “Our decision to invest in virtual desktop technology demonstrates our innovative approach and our long-term commitment to contain costs and boost staff productivity by improving flexibility and security. This supports our main aim of delivering the best possible service to our 14m customers.”
Sounds canny. But, what have Thames Water and Molten Technologies done with Desktone’s software? Is DaaS now a service that can accommodate a company with a client base of 14 million? Desktone had a major campaign around the $1/day desktop: is that’s what’s in use here? Indeed, are Desktone a software company, or a hosting company? Given the known costs and complexity of a virtual desktop infrastructure, can you only deliver a VDI if you situate your services in the cloud? Where does DaaS sit in comparison to a virtual desktop infrastructure? Will Desktone leave Citrix and VMware in the Doldrums?
One of the initial announcements at Citrix Synergy was that Kaviza,who developed one of the first all-in-one “VDI-in-a-Box” solutions for small and medium business, have been acquired by Citrix. The acquisition adds a fast-track VDI-only solution to the Citrix portfolio. The Kaviza “VDI-in-a-Box” product is billed as complementing the Citrix’s XenDesktop product line for enterprise-class desktop virtualization.
Benjamin Franklin wrote ‘in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”. You may have read our article about how it is possible to cheat death in Save Lives, implement VDI. But death is a mere bagatelle in these austere times in comparison to taxes.
One week after Austin, TX-based Virtual Bridges Inc. announced that IBM is using its flagship VERDE solution to provide virtual desktop management and provisioning capabilities for the IBM Cloud Service Provider Platform, Chelmsford MA based Desktone Inc. today announced two major steps forward on the road to ubiquitous public cloud-based virtual desktops – The release of Desktone 3.0, and its partnership with Rackspace Hosting to provide public cloud-based virtual desktops for just $1 per day.