Presentation Virtualization is an application delivery method that delivers users desktops and applications from a shared server, AKA server based computing. This method of delivering applications to users focuses upon running an instance of each Windows desktop operating system application i.e., Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Office for each user on a shared instance of a Windows Server operating system. (Read More)(Read Less)
The most popular product in this category is Citrix XenApp and its predecessors which include Citrix Presentation Server, and Citrix MetaFrame. In the 6.0 releases of its products, Citrix bundled XenApp into XenDesktop. In the 7.0 releases of its products, XenApp has been made available separately again. Microsoft also has a product in this category – Microsoft Remote Desktop Services, but this offering is mostly used in smaller implementations that do not require the enterprise class features that Citrix offers.
Now, this isn’t a question of how many times can I get now in the title in some sort of unusual Now Bingo game. In January, AppSense, quietly went about re-branding its Management Suite (consisting of Management Center, Application Manager, Environment Manager and Performance Manager) as AppSense DesktopNow although it’s all official now.
Now, the reasoning was straightforward: while AppSense has a history in helping organisations manage the user workspace, they’ve also been working hard to broaden horizons. AppSense now has two other significant offerings, DataNow and MobileNow.
Now, eschewing suggestions from Interflora, rather than say it with flowers AppSense celebrated Valentines Day by announcing a number of enhancements to DesktopNow, including new enterprise features and capabilities. What are these? Are they more than just some in-play re-branding and how important are these changes in a world that, some say, no longer needs the PC?
Norskale has released v2 of VUEM, their enterprise grade User Environment Management (UEM) product.
User Environment Management is a key capability in delivering a modern flexible, reliable, and secure application delivery environment. While UEM can provide consistency across different platforms (be they desktops, laptops, or a hosted or shared virtual desktop environment), UEM is not just a technology to enable desktop virtualization. UEM can be used to accelerate logon times (improving device roaming capabilities); make migration from old to new operating systems and applications less complicated (enabling more rapid change); and can control, facilitate, and enforce user access to applications and data resources, assisting in securing environments when they are accessed outside of the maze.
Norskale believes that performance, simplicity of use, and a low cost of ownership are key factors when choosing a workspace management product. While Norskale is a new venture, the VEUM product has been available since 2011 and does have a range of case studies and testimonies. Norksale’s goal for VUEM is to deliver a product that allows organisations to maintain user satisfaction: give extremely fast login times and a reliable and consistent environment that is easy to use. Yet, Norskale must compete against far more than Shadow, Speedy, Bashful, and Pokey. UEM is focused on managing a Microsoft Windows desktop workspace. While Microsoft has improved their tool selection, third party vendors such as AppSense, Liquidware Labs, RES Software, et.al, have an established place.
How good an idea is it to virtualize XenApp? Way back in 2010, when more of the poles were ice, we asked is virtualizing Citrix XenApp a waste of time and effort? There were a number of benefits identified: hardware abstraction allowing easier image management and OS upgrades; options for higher availability and faster recovery, even failover; virtualization-enabled silo consolidation; and importantly, better management of user capacity on servers.
Yet, with XenApp running on Windows 2008 R2 memory limitations are of far less issue. Introducing a hypervisor has an overhead which can impact user density and can change Microsoft server license costs per physical server. Do these considerations outweigh other benefits? Hypervisor technology and performance has moved on considerably – what is the impact of that? What other services can virtualized XenApp drive?
Nivio have announced a DaaS solution aimed at SME space. Offering access to Microsoft Windows on any device, rentable applications, and data storage in the cloud, it sounds as if Nivio’s service could be just the ticket for the tablet wielding, dead-PC shunning organisations with a workforce who have their own devices, and need to team collaboration with access to Windows based applications.
Yet, Nivio have created a service offering delivering Windows applications to Windows, Mac, iOS and Android devices. A web service providing common file storage to store user and group files for that can be syncronised to devices to work offline for editing directly, or automatically made available within the public cloud hosted Windows desktop service. A desktop service that has an on-demand, rentable application interface. User management is in your own hands. While Nivio are targeting their market at the 20-50 user sized organisation space which suggests small business, Nivio are getting a number of calls from project teams in larger organisations.
What are Nivio doing that is different? Will this model be successful? What, if anything, can be learned by other DaaS providers, and what in turn could be learned by Nivio?
Participate in any virtual desktop design session and you will know that the discussion almost always moves immediately to how many IOPS per virtual desktop session should be expected. More often than not, the leader of these conversations will answer “it depends”. This is a statement that does not give most end users a warm a fuzzy feeling because it usually comes with a pretty heavy storage price tag. Unfortunately, there are many factors that affect overall performance. Within the virtual desktop session, the number and type of applications you have running, the layers of security configuration and policy that are applied, and how you are handling user personalization have an impact on IOPS. Many of these challenges can be addressed by applying good standard virtual desktop practices, which are often different from the way physical desktops are traditionally architected. Continue reading Greenbytes Addresses VDI IO Without Changing Your Storage→