I had an interesting discussion with a customer around prioritisation of their services prior to Windows 2003 and Windows XP going end of life in 2014. As we saunter nonchalantly to the start of 2012, what must the focus be next year? You may well be having the same conversations. Let’s be honest, corporate change isn’t as dynamic as we’d like. This has it’s own positives, it’s own negatives.
Back to my customer. There is a business-influential Citrix XenApp estate hosted on Windows 2003. It has a reliable history: and if it ain’t broke…The client has a sizable user-base in central London, this estate is scheduled to be expanded to accommodate more remote working due to the Olympics: which will cause the greatest mass of people in one place that you can get in peace-time.
Granted, there was an understanding that the XenApp environment had a limited shelf-life. Granted, there was an understanding that because this was an external facing service, End of Life (EOL) and the subsequent lack of ability to at least security patch the service could not be tolerated.
So, we have an interesting question. Windows 2003, Windows XP EOL is 2014. For all Citrix XenApp versions other than the most recent 6.5 release, EOL .. End. Of. Life.
One day, perhaps, all applications may be delivered within a web browser with back end services offered in the Cloud. One day, perhaps, there will a single web standard that each and every web browser adheres to. One day, perhaps, a web browser platform will offer the rich user interface and controls that a more traditional desktop OS can provide without a raft of add-ons and controls. However, as we mentioned in our article on The Rise of Application Operations and the Role for Next Generation APM Solutions the reality is that custom developed applications have been developed in countless different ways ranging from FoxPro and dBase, to Visual Basic, C, C++, MFC, COM+.
This causes an issue for ISVs who have products developed using such technologies. How can they meet their customers’ demands to deliver the application to a wider range of devices; to charged for the application using a Software-as-a-Service model; indeed, to reduce the complexity and lead time for application delivery that is often associated with a traditional application that has to be installed locally within a client operating system. Moreover, is it possible to provide support and delivery of applications that require specific operating environment components as customers move to Windows 7 and beyond?
To attempt to resolve these requirements, Ericom Software have announced Ericom AccessCloud – a new initiative aimed at facilitating the adoption of Cloud-hosted services, including Software as a Service (SaaS), multi-tenancy, and billing and automatic provisioning solutions, by ISVs and cloud-hosting companies.
CIOs see selecting the right technology provider for their desktop virtualization strategy as a “significant risk”, according to research firm Ovum. Ovum found that simplifying the management of desktops to reduce costs and increasing business agility were the top two reasons for implementing desktop virtualization, however, an often overlooked aspect is the need to shift thinking from a device-centric perspective to a user-centric one.
Ericom Software have announced a number of solutions to allow organisations to deliver VDI access to a wider range of devices. Ericom joined a number of other vendors such as 2x, Citrix and Quest, in offering a free mobile client – AccessToGo – which is available on the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch and Android tablets and phones. AccessToGo supports RDP and VMware View, but also Ericom’s Blaze RDP accelerator and Ericom’s own PowerTerm WebConnect client.
Perhaps more importantly, Ericom have also announced the general availability of their patent-pending HTML5 client, AccessNow. AccessNow provides web-based access to a range of RDP based virtual desktop solutions – be they hosted desktops such as VMware View or session based desktops in Microsoft’s Terminal Services/RDS.
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.
I have to admit that it came as a bit of a surprise to see Ericom beating Citrix, VMware, et al to the punch last week by shipping the beta release of its HTML5-based RDP client, before any of the bigger vendors opened up their offerings to public scrutiny. I’ll be looking at the operation of Ericom’s HTML5 client in more depth next week, but first we need to understand why anyone would be interested in deploying a HTML5-based remote desktop client at all.