The IT world is forever creating catchy new terms to label technologies in the hope that it will better communicate some vital marketing message. Sometimes this approach works, with few exceptions everybody understands what is meant by “thin client” and “zero client” even when the details of the implementation are wildly different – a Dell Wyse Xenith 2 zero client and a Pano Logic G2M zero client may have widely diverging approaches to delivering a zero configuration plug and play experience, but their appliance-like nature and operational benefits are the same. Sometimes it doesn’t; regardless of the merit of the technology it describes, type 0 hypervisor is a term that should be banished from any technical dictionary. And sometimes its too soon to tell. Microvisor is a term used to describe two very different virtualization technologies offered by Bromium and OK Labs that could conceivably compete in the same marketplace at some point in the future. So what about “Cloud Client”? Wikipedia does a good job of defining Cloud Client
Articles Tagged with RDS
OnLive, the desktop pundits favorite DaaS provider, is one step closer to being able to offer a viable and fully compliant virtual “desktop” service following the stealth update of its platform from a Windows 7 based VDI service to a Windows Server 8 R2 Remote Desktop Services offering. While this move eliminates the threat to the service that attempting to run a set based on a licensing model that was not compliant with Microsoft’s licensing policies, OnLive is still not out of the woods.
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?
Quest has for many years found itself as third-place runner-up to Citrix and VMware in the VDI business. In some respects this was justified, in others much less so. Quest has neither the resources or virtualization focus of Citrix and VMware, nor does it have the same the channel depth or marketing budget of its competitors, making it too easy to paint a picture of Quest being an also ran. However, at the same time Quest has been a credible competitor to Citrix for much longer than VMware and has managed to deliver a unified VDI and RDS solution in vWorkspace – something that neither Citrix nor VMware have been able to achieve as yet. More importantly, as Citrix’s level of innovation in XenDesktop and XenApp has slowed, and VMware has focused more End User Computing resources on Horizon, Quest has sensed an opportunity and last week’s release of vWorkspace 7.5 clearly shows that it is making the most of it.
As the dust settles on VMware’s VMWorld End User Computing group’s re-invigoration, it is entertaining to wax lyrical on how users will be wedded with their data in the glorious shining summer of a post-PC era. But, we still stand in the cold, blustery autumnal now of mixed desktop environments and legacy applications. Organisations will rely on applications requiring a Microsoft OS for a good few years yet. However, we’ve already begun the transition from a truly distributed environment from individualised, personal computers. The delivery of applications (and desktops) regardless of device type has been available to organisations since the 1990s with Citrix being one of the first to deliver the next generation of applications and desktops to the previous generation of devices and operating environments.
XenApp 6.5 is Citrix’s latest offering of their renowned Presentation Virtualisation (PV) service. Citrix are not alone in updating their feature set. Earlier in 2011 Microsoft introduced SP1 for 2008 enhancing the OS for the core Remote Desktop Services’ (RDS) session virtualization service, Ericom released PowerTerm WebConnect 5.7.1, ProPalms updated TSE to 6.5 and Quest announced vWorkspace 7.2 MR1.
Citrix has released XenApp 6 which finally provides support for Microsoft Windows Server 2008 (W2k8) R2. Citrix made their name delivering Presentation Virtualisation; and have been rightly seen as the the leader in that market in terms of functionality, support and scalability. Citrix did have to completely re-write the XenApp code for R2 – which was a considerable undertaking yet, in the meantime other PV vendors such as Ericom, Quest, Systancia have had W2k8 R2 functionality for some time: it is unusual for Citrix to appear to be chasing, rather than leading, the pack.
While VDI is being considered by many companies, and its adoption will likely grow, Presentation Virtualization services are embedded as departmental solutions, branch office deployments, even as the core of multi-national businesses’ desktop delivery solutions: but, those solutions are primarily based around pre-W2k8 R2 services. W2k8 R2 offers greater scalability for Presentation Virtualization than previous versions, there will undoubtedly be a steady migration to this platform.
Given there is a cost to migrating from x32 to x64 in terms of validating applications and drivers operating in the new environment and that there is an increased cost to purchasing the new RDS CALs – is the new functionality in XenApp 6 as innovative as in previous releases? Are you going to get a very rapid return in your investment? Besides W2k8 R2 support, what does XenApp 6 offer your business? Indeed, has the focus on battling VMware XenDesktop allowed the competition to catch up further?