Unidesk launches Unidesk V1

Making VDI simple - Unidesk

Unidesk is one of a small number of suppliers that are trying to find the right key to unlock organizations' interest in virtual desktop's (VDI). These suppliers are developing ways to build virtual client systems containing the right combination of standard operating systems and applications, user installed applications, user data and user personalization of standard tools. Unidesk just announced their technology designed to simplify provisioning and management of virtual client systems using VMware's hypervisor.

What the company has to say about Unidesk V1.0

Unidesk®, the leading innovator of virtual desktop management software, today announced the availability of its personalization and provisioning solution for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). Unidesk 1.0 leverages existing VMware-based server virtualization infrastructure and extends VDI connection brokers such as VMware View and Citrix® XenDesktop® to make the user experience equal to that of a traditional PC, while sharply cutting VDI storage costs and simplifying desktop administration and support.

With Unidesk, enterprises of all sizes can now offer persistent virtual desktops to users who need to install their own applications and make other common desktop customizations. By offering full desktop personalization without having to allocate a full PC’s worth of storage for each user on costly data center disks, Unidesk is accelerating desktop virtualization adoption for customers in education, financial services, healthcare, and federal and local government.

Snapshot analysis

To date, most organizations have continued the practice of installing software directly on desktop systems rather than using VDI technology. The key question is why have organizations continued down a path that they know leads to complexity, management issues, security issues and the like rather than moving towards a more virtualized environment.  I suspect the answer revolves around a number of centers including:
  • IT staff know and understand the benefits and limitations of using physical rather than virtual desktop systems. Moving towards a virtual environment would mean making the time to learn new technology, creating new processes and procedures, and, in the end, may not produce a sufficient level of cost reduction to make it worth the trip.
  • IT organizations are, for the most part, already overwhelmed by complexity of their IT environment. Adding another layer of technology, communications protocols and management tools seems to be heading in the wrong direction even though the suppliers assert that a utopian land of simplicity is just on the other side of the process.
  • Users have expectations about how the desktop or laptop systems provided by the company can be used.  Any attempt to change or restrict usage would result in a major end-user uprising.  IT departments, for the most part, are simply too busy to deal with that at this time.
  • The technology often is merely a collection of tools, each requiring its own level of expertise, rather than a polished solution

So, companies, such as Citrix, Neocleus, Unidesk, Virtual Computer, VMware, and Wanova, are all trying to put together just the right mix of tools, capabilities and the like to make the transition so easy and the results so beneficial that organizations are simply directed to use them. To date, none of them have fully succeeded. There are pockets of adoption in vertical markets that struggle to comply with government regulations or face specific security challenges. Generally, however, organizations continue to deploy traditional, not virtual, desktops.

Unidesk's approach clearly is a powerful, evolutionary step that is likely to widen and broaden the interest in VDI. The company's focus on simplicity, allowing end users to install and manage their own software, and still make the resultant virtual desktop manageable and secure should make Unidesk interesting to many end user organizations.

Note: the good folks over at Wanova contacted me and clarified something for me. Here's their comment:

Just one quick comment on Wanova: we do not require any sort of VDI infrastructure in order to work. We don't need a hypervisor on the server or the client. All we need is Windows. While some of the messaging about persistent personalization and user installed applications are similar to Unidesk's - we are a very different architecture that is completely non-reliant on a virtual infrastructure. We are helping organizations better manage what they have today

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