Redwood City-based MokaFive is bringing its year to a close with two major product announcements. Releasing both MokaFive Suite 3.0 as well as its first cloud offering, the MokaFive Suite Service Provider Edition, on the same day.
MOKAFIVE SUITE 3.0
MokeFive Suite is an enterprise desktop management platform that is used to create and administer layered virtual desktop images called ‘LivePCs’ which execute as guests on a type II hypervisor. LivePC images are authored using the MokaFive Creator which also serves as a test platform to simulate and end-users experience. LivePC images can be stored on centralized or distributed file stores. MokaFive also provides support for Amazon S3 storage, which can be of significant value in managing highly distributed environments, or run directly off USB flash drives. MokaFive LivePCs are effectively hypervisor agnostic; support is currently available for VMware’s free Player and the open source Virtual Box. Beta support for Parallels Workstation is new in MokaFive Suite 3.0, and MokaFive’s own bare metal platform will be shipping in Q1 2011.
Can you use Desktop Virtualization in your organization to improve IT delivery? Desktop Virtualization, as a concept, is straightforward – separate the desktop environment from the physical machine. This gives you benefits in terms of speed of delivery, how you can provide access to mobile and remote workers, how you can ensure security and compliance.
On the other hand – Desktop Virtualization, as a task, is complex, it requires different technologies and practices to traditional desktop deployment. The task is further complicated because Desktop Virtualization, as a term, is applied to a variety of solutions. These include VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure), HVD (Hosted Virtual Desktops), DaaS (Desktops as a Service), the use of Type 1 or Type 2 Hypervisors to create a “corporate sandbox” on an end-user workstation, and finally some new and enhanced desktop management techniques that deliver benefits of “Desktop Virtualization”, but without the data center server resource typically associated with this type of solution.
A number of vendors offer desktop virtualization solutions – how can you compare those offerings and relate them to what you need your desktop delivery strategy to do for your business?
Browsers are the user workspace of the future. The issue with “traditional” applications are many and complex covering topics like deployment, updates, security and management. If you can move all of that headache to a centralized service and have users access that by firing up their device’s web browser then your troubles will be over. But an issue with web-based applications is, as with any application, the capabilities of the service grow to accommodate new functions and additional requirements. Applications may move to be hosted in “the cloud”, but there is will always be a need to ensure that the end device has an environment to run that web service in a secure, consistent and productive way. Browsers may well be the workspace of the future – but that future will still browsers to be updated, managed and maintained.
It is likely your business is moving to a post Windows XP environment. Perhaps you are updating traditional desktops or migrating to virtual desktop environment on Windows 7, or even a presentation virtualization environment based on Windows 2008 R2. Moving operating systems, means moving browser version. Microsoft would say this is a “Good Thing” – as they consider Internet Explorer (IE) 8 to be their best browser yet although to be fair, they’re hardly likely to say IE8 is bloated and overly complex.
There are still a good number of companies who have found that they cannot standardize on one browser for all users en masse without impacting on business functions. One application, or even a critical component of one application may not work if the browser for IE8 or IE7. At the same time, as users become more web aware, there is the demand of users to have more than just one browser available.
Can you support multiple browsers in your environment? How can you run IE6 in a Windows 7 or Windows 2008 environment? Will moving to a VDI infrastructure allow you to look back while moving forward and indeed, is the lack of support for different browsers – specifically different versions of IE – simply a temporary issue, resolved by focusing on changing the web delivery services so that they support the most recent browser? Ultimately, is one browser enough?
Our analysts leave VMworld 2010 having had great fun, having met some most excellent people and having been impressed with interesting vendors. Yet one thing puzzles after attending and discussing what we’ve experienced.
What is the focus of VMware’s Desktop Strategy?
Is VMware really committed the Desktop Virtualization Market?
What is VMware’s strategy going forward?
How will VMware Differentiate from the Competition?
How will VMware compete with the new vendors looking to disrupt and reinvent the desktop space?
One announcement that is unlikely to be made at VMworld in 2010 is the release of VMware’s Client Hypervisor. While VMware may have got accustomed to dominating the world of server virtualization, its attempts to become the de-facto virtualization vendor on the desktop haven’t gone quite as well. Despite it being nearly two years since announcing its “vClient initiative“, VMware has yet to announce a delivery date for the proposed client side hypervisor component. Citrix, on the other hand, is proudly touting XenClient. Other vendors, such as VirtualComputer are actively promoting their products.
Its likely Citrix will have beaten VMware to delivering a Client Hypervisor. While XenClient is currently a Release Candidate version, Citrix announced that the v1.0 will be released with XenDesktop 4 Feature Pack 2 in September 2010.
Is the lack of Client Hypervisor (CHv) a problem for VMware in delivering a complete desktop solution to customers? Indeed, is the CHv technology viable for business use now? And when (and if) it is a viable technology, where should a CHv be considered in your desktop strategy? What could a Client Hypervisor be used for?
Virtual Computer recently announced the availability of their NxTop product for free for up to five users. NxTop combines centralized virtual desktop management with a “bare-metal” client-hypervisor to make managing many desktops as easy as managing one. But, you may ask, what can a client side hypervisor do for me?
It’s likely you’re one of the 46,000 who have, apparently, downloaded Citrix’s XenClient. Maybe you took one look at the depressingly short hardware compatibility list and thought “it’s not going to work for us”: or maybe, like me, you ignored pretty much all the documentation when you downloaded it and only referenced that list when the XenClient failed to install on the third device. In which case its likely you’re asking ‘it sounds an interesting concept, but I don’t have the hardware to support it’. Maybe you’re one of the many who were expecting VMWare to release something.. sometime… maybe.
We’ve taken a look under the hood of a simple NxTop installation and put together a white-paper, A Look Under the Hood of Virtual Computer’s NxTop, to help you understand the installation requirements and the process of setting up clients and servers. In it we’ve considered the benefits, and issues, of a client-side hypervisor solution and how you can use such a service to manage your environment. How do you license such a service and indeed, how does a client-side hypervisor solution compare to VDI?
A barrier to introducing VDI is often the complexity and high initial costs such a solution can involve. Can you use a bare metal client-side hypervisor to manage your desktops? Should you?