Parallels plugs USB links into virtual desktops

The virtualisation company is partnering with Silex to incorporate USBs into customers' virtual networks

Virtualisation-software provider Parallels is partnering with Silex Technology, a device-connection specialist, to give customers the ability to link office devices to virtualised networks via USB ports.

One of the issues posed by virtualisation is getting device drivers on different desktops and on main systems to work with standard office machines, such as printers and scanners. Incompatibility between the drivers, as well as between software and a virtual environment, can make this problematic, demanding much work from system managers to fix problems.

Parallels' Virtuozzo Containers software works by using a single server and operating system to create several 'containers', or virtual environments, that can hold different applications and operating systems. Now Parallels is allowing devices to be connected to a virtual desktop via USB in exactly the same way, the company said.

The Silex SX Virtual Link software is certified to work in a Parallels Virtuozzo Container environment, Parallels said. The idea is that companies using Parallels can use a USB device as if it were plugged into a local computer's USB port, even though it is being used over the network running in a virtualised desktop environment.

The container approach means that a driver will only have to be compatible with the software in the particular virtual environment it is placed in, for example.

Serguei Beloussov, chief executive of Parallels, said he believes the main benefit is more flexibility. "The Silex USB over IP technology will bring even greater versatility to the Parallels VDI [virtual desktop infrastructure] environment and, ultimately, give customers greater options and reasons to migrate their desktops to virtual infrastructures," he said in a statement.

Parallels has not released price information.

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