Complexity, storage, remoting protocols, device access. There are so many “barriers to VDI adoption”, that you can wonder why people make the effort. Yet, a centralised desktop infrastructure does offer advantages in management, reliability, wider access and (hopefully) proximity to your data: successful business cases can, and are, being made. Less of the piangevole, more of the piacevole.
A common initiator for moving to virtual desktops is the transition away from existing PCs. Despite them still physically capable of powering-on in the morning and working steadily all day, they aren’t up to the heavy lifting that modern operating systems and applications demand: some of you reading may be able to relate on a number of levels. Yet, why refresh those devices as well given those units are now no longer doing the heavy lifting? Many utilise refresh budgets to fund the centralised desktop hardware. A common business case is, the new platform offers a virtuoso performance of business agility over the lentando offering of fixed desktops. However – how do you access these virtual desktops? The Force may well be a binding, metaphysical, and ubiquitous power, but you’re here and now: not a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
Yes, it is possible to purchase new devices – which are ever becoming cheaper, faster and better. However “new” is still an expense. Many opt to reduce their initial spend by re-provisioning existing PCs to thin clients.
To help accommodate this option, Stratodesk have announced the latest version of their NoTouch Desktop. NoTouch is a PC and thin-client re-purposing and management product. As well as supporting Citrix, VMware and Quest, Stratodesk have recently partnered with Desktone to offer easier access to Desktone DaaS desktops.
What does Stratodesk’s NoTouch Offer, and can Stratodesk assist in a easing deployment of virtualised desktop projects over and above simply deploying thin clients?
According to Bloomberg News Dell is in discussions to acquire Quest Software in a bid to strengthen its enterprise software services portfolio. Dell has been shopping, with five acquisitions announced so far this year, to add software, computer storage and networking gear to its lineup of PCs, which account for 52% of its sales. With PC sales flat and margins thin, Dell has been seeking to broaden its services portfolio and directly challenge HP which has suffered multiple missteps in recent months.
Like waking up from a scene in a night’s dream where you were on a lovely walk, to find yourself stood outside of your now locked hotel room wearing nothing but your underwear, NxTop customers and resellers may well view the purchase of Virtual Computer by Citrix with a chill, heart-quickening, “right then, what next”?
Virtual Computer’s free offerings are no longer available, NxTop Enterprise edition gets a modest per user price increase. Support is still available. It is likely any road-map will take a wobble. What is now XenClient Enterprise is one of three client hypervisor versions that are offered by the application delivery leader who was, up until Friday, ‘the investing competition’.
Virtual Computer was a leader in the Type I client hypervisor delivery platform: although to be fair, it wasn’t a big race card. In comparison to its cousin XenClient, at technical level it had better instance management options, a pre-packaged virtual machine instance with Chrome and Citrix Receiver, far wider hardware support and integrated systray tools within Microsoft Windows VMs. The latest 4.0.6 released earlier this month, continued a steady improvement in management options for configurations. More importantly for the enterprise – Virtual Computer had the better links than the with hardware manufacturers with a strategy to integrate new hardware releases in weeks rather than months. Perhaps most interestingly, NxTop was highlighted as an solution that strongly aligned with Intel’s Intelligent Desktop Virtualisation (IDV).
VDI too expensive? VDI too remote? Have you considered IDV – manage centrally, run locally?
Yet despite innovation awards, the client-side hypervisor leader found it hard to gain momentum. Talking to CIO/CTOs the technology and you come across a number of obstacles in new accounts. Where does it fit with a BYOD strategy? What advantage does it offer over solutions such as LANDesk, Dells’ KACE or Microsoft’s SCCM? Will it run on a Mac? How does it deliver to my tablet?
The integration time for XenClient Enterprise likely to be 12-18 months. If you’re running NxTop now, how will that impact your roll-out or continued delivery? If you dismissed XenClient and went XenDesktop – should you stop? How could Citrix accommodate a product that can be pitched directly against XenDesktop and VDI-in-a-box? Why and will Citrix embrace IDV?
Citrix CEO Mark Templeton has confirmed Tuesday’s leaked story by announcing that Citrix has acquiring client hypervisor segment leader Virtual Computer. Templeton followed up the announcement with the news that Citrix would be introducing a new client hypervisor solution XenClient Enterprise, making it Citrix’s second standalone client hypervisor product following up from the security hardened XenClient XT.
Whatever your enterprise desktop issue VDI is often hailed as the answer. The next generation desktop will be virtual. Mind, while it’s not possible to say that no one got fired for recommending VDI, taking the compute power away from the end-device and putting it back in the data centre has been a task that has struggled to gain wide adoption.
Remember when you used to buy the magazines, buy the components, then use the components and the instructions in the magazines to build your own personal computer? Then install your own operating system. Then learn a programming language. Then write your own applications to run on your own computer? Then fix your computer because it blew up? Then bandage your hand because you soldered a component to your finger? Those days are likely gone but, back in October Intel reported strong PC and notebook sales, HP isn’t dropping its PC line. Your children may not tolerate building their own devices, but the PC will be a business device for at least the next to five to ten years.
What this also means is that for software companies focused on delivering applications and data to users, their solutions cannot be solely focused on virtualisation and the cloud: cannot be focused purely on thin and mobile. At the same time, IT departments need to be more business aware, because the business is increasingly IT aware.
At the Synergy Barcelona 2011 event last week Citrix positioned themselves to deliver on just that. Some impressive cloud announcements gave a long term strategy view. There were a number of additional previews to highlight Citrix’s commitment to appeal to The Business, and not just be about IT departmental solutions. Citrix flaunted their ever growing portfolio of services to enable organisations to have a strategy for end devices that is about delivering access to data not just in a virtualised desktop, but in a manner appropriate to device and its location. Let’s take a ramble through some of them.