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?
After two years in development, the latest workplace collaboration service, Podio, was stood up to be counted at the end of March. Podio is focused on improving execution and collaboration for business processes, knowledge and projects. With Podio, business teams can define their own customizable work spaces: without external programming support.
Why is this important? There is much discussion on improving desktop management: and typically the driver is “to reduce cost”. This involves looking to ease deployment; introduce user personalisation and rights control; considering application virtualisation. The simple fact is, if you want to control your desktop management costs, you introduce better management: you make an unmanaged device, a managed one. However, when tightly defining a desktop workspace and controlling how it is configured (to reduce costs) it often prevents users from accessing their data in ways that they need. IT can become a barrier, not an enabler.
Desktop management is expensive if it is unmanaged on a LAN: it is most expensive when those unmanaged desktops are distributed (be it across regional offices, or roaming users, or both). Centralisation can reduce these costs, putting you in a position where the IT you manage enables, rather than disables, the business. However, centralisation of desktop services is costly.
Centralisation solutions either focus on solutions that require a large investment in data-centre resources (such as Desktop Virtualization or Presentation Virtualization), or require you to separate management functions and duplicate administrative effort (mix VDI with A.N Other solution). UniDesk, for example, have looked to re-invent how centralised virtualised desktops are managed; MokaFive and VirtualComputer have enterprise ready options for managing workspace delivery to devices but there is a requirement to deploy and manage a hypervisor on the end device. If your goal is to manage what you have better to reduce your costs – do you have to have hypervisors; do you have to remote your desktop?
Wanova have developed a Distributed Desktop Virtualization (DDV) solution – Mirage – with which they look to solve issues of desktop management with distributed environments, without the need for hypervisors, without the need for expensive data-centre resources and remoting protocols. In this article we’ll take a look at the challenges of desktop delivery, how Mirage works and how can it impact your desktop management.
By definition, a Mirage is a displaced image of distant objects, rather than an hallucination. Can Wanova offer the facility to deliver virtualised desktops to disparate devices – or are they just making it up?
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?
Desktop Virtualization is not an easy undertaking. There – I’ve said it. “But,” you may say, “I take a copy of the desktops I have, I run them on servers in the data-centre. Once that’s done, I don’t need to update those desktop devices; I can update the virtualized workspace instead far more quickly. The desktops are running on server hardware so they will be more reliable. Eventually, someone may well offer to host these workspaces on some infrastructure out in The Cloud”.
“Really, how hard can it be?”
If you are steering your organisations desktop strategy you need to consider that what may seem like a straightforward undertaking can in fact be a much larger and complex task. As with with any obstacle, understanding the size of the problem early gives a greater chance of avoiding it.
Lets consider the hosted desktop iceberg – how complex can a VDI solution be?
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?