Amongst all the major infrastructure and cloud announcements at VMworld this year, I was looking for some interesting technology that would stand out from a EUC perspective. Every which way I turned there were great solutions displayed on the exhibit hall floor, but hidden in the back row of this highly attended event was the piece of technology that I was looking for. Released back in May, the ViewSonic SD-A225 and SD-A245 (22 and 24 inch respectively) smart display devices peaked my interest. The devices are loaded with Android Jelly Bean 4.2 operating system and come pre-configured with Citrix’s XenMobile MDM client, so right out of the box you can apply application and device level security using your existing XenMobile infrastructure. The devices are very feature rich, providing a touch screen that puts out 1920×1080 resolution in full HD powered by a NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad core processor, Bluetooth, Gigabit Ethernet, Speakers, USB ports, WiFi and Webcam. Continue reading VMworld 2013: ViewSonic’s Android Based Thin Client, a Hidden Treasure
Corporate data is floating around on PC’s and laptops, sitting on cloud file-sharing platforms and being transmitted over email. Laptops and mobile devices are sitting in the trunks of cars at the mall, being left in hotel rooms or lost in the backs of taxis. Data has become as good as gold. Credit Card numbers, Social Security numbers, architectural diagrams, marketing plans and source code – each a target for a particular thief. And just like fine art and jewelry, there is a huge black market of data buyers. Don’t think your competition wouldn’t want to get their hands on your customer accounts, price lists or intellectual property if they could. There are too many cases in recent history of massive data loss to think that this problem is something that can be easily fixed without changing the way employees get access and use corporate data. Continue reading Rethinking Thin Clients from a Security Perspective
Project Avalon was announced by Citrix back in May. Avalon is to deliver Windows apps and desktops as a true cloud service. Since then, there has been speculation on what that actually entails. “Cloud” or “Cloud Service” can have many different connotations; indeed, for many the very term “cloud” fills their ears with a high-pitched nee and causes a yearn to live in an anarcho-syndicalist commune.
Running small-scale, departmental-level deployments of desktop virtualization is relatively straightforward. Scale past thousands to several thousands of desktops and applications, and the process of management and delivery gets much harder. More importantly, data centre technology has changed. How do you scale an environment while segregating the roles of a virtual desktop administrator from those of the storage, networking, or virtual infrastructure teams? How can the data centre infrastructure team provide the right service to the desktop team, and vice versa, so that they can optimize delivery of virtual desktops?
Citrix has FlexCast, the concept that IT should be able to deliver a variety of types of virtual instances, with each tailored to meet performance, security, and flexibility requirements. But while FlexCast gives choices for users, the simplicity of the user interface belies the rapid duck-paddling of disparate, separately developed and maintained products that organisations have to maintain at the back-end, many of which creak at the mere thought of a little bit of scaled peril.
To avoid smelling of elderberries, Citrix needs to make the administration and deployment of their Windows application and desktop delivery more straightforward and relevant to current delivery methods. Easier large/massive deployments are necessary in order to maintain large enterprise account revenue and to entice service providers to build solutions on Citrix software. Project Avalon is intended to allow organisations to effectively centralize IT to provide cost savings through scale and administration and maintain security, while enabling decentralized IT resources to utilize those central services to give users and customers a productive experience.
At the same time, the VMware Horizon Suite is intended to provide the end user with a single place to get access to their applications, data, and desktops and to give IT a single management console to manage entitlements, policies, and security.
At Synergy 2012 in Barcelona, components of Project Avalon were revealed. Project Excalibur will focus on creating an integrated FlexCast platform, and Project Merlin will deliver self-service provision, management, and service orchestration.
What will these components provide, and where will it lead customers? Will embarking on a quest to get to Avalon lead to the promised grail or just to some watery tart?
We’ve joined many in heralding Teradici RDSH solution’s VMworld announcement. Weaving sweetly around the fact that the actual release won’t be until at least the end of 2012, it is only right that to take a quick jab at the fact v1.0 will be feature lite in comparison to the heavyweight Grand Old Man of desktop virtualisation Citrix XenApp until well into 2013.
In PCoIP Teradici have a remote protocol: but Citirx’s XenApp application is more than an ICA protocol extension for Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH). What can RDSH bring to a virtualised desktop environment? Will protocol support to RDSH be enough for Teradici to deliver a service that can complement an existing VMware View environment?
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?
Citrix has struggled to position VDI-in-a-Box since it acquired Kaviza in 2010. In a move seen by many as an attempt to protect its flagship product XenDesktop from encroachment by its internal competition, Citrix first marketing VIAB as a pure SMB solution targeted at deployments of no more than 300 desktops. This cap was later raised to 500 and then 3,000 desktops as system integrators pushed back against Citrix, recognizing that VIAB was both capable of meeting most customers needs and a far less daunting proposition to take on (and hence sell) than XenDesktop. at the same time though, Citrix hobbled VIAB by excluding it from resellers sales quotas and failing to offer a a licensing upgrade from it to XenDesktop for customers needing XenDesktop’s greater flexibility (although in practice there appears to have been a tacit understanding that customers would be allowed to upgrade if they asked). Continue reading Citrix VDI-in-a-Box goes mainstream