A while ago, I had the opportunity to speak with Purnima Padmanabhan, MokaFive's Vice President of Products and Marketing, about MokaFive, its approach to desktop virtualization and why the company believes the approach is better than server-based desktop virtualization.
The MokaFive approach
MokaFive encapsulates a Windows desktop. The resulting package is called a "LivePC." The LivePC images can then be deployed on Apple Macs (inside of a virtual machine, such as Fusion or Parallels), PCs running Windows or directly on PC hardware using a bare metal hypervisor. Moka Five uses the VMware Player as the default client virtual machine manager, or hypervisor. The company states that the architecture of its software allows nearly any virtual machine software to be used.
During the process of encapsulation into a LivePC, the client software is segmented into three components, Corporate operating system and applications, user applications and user data and settings. This allows organizations or departments to deploy the same golden operating system and application image to all of their user devices. User's applications and personalization settings can then be layered on the system.
MokaFive offers sixty different policies to control security and system operations.
This approach, MokaFive would say, offers the organization the ability to lock down critical components of a corporate desktop environment and still allow individuals to optionally add their down applications, change desktop wallpaper and make other changes to how their desktop looks.
MokaFive's approach could make "bring your own computer" corporate programs more secure as well. The LivePC virtual desktop images can be encrypted. The built-in AVG anti-virus scanner can also block access to corporate systems if keyloggers or screen scrapers are detected in the environment.
The key, MokaFive would say, is offering VDI-like control of the desktop computing environment without also requiring desktops to execute back in the data center on expensive systems. The company would also point out that their approach sharply reduces the storage and networking required for a virtual desktop solution.
Another key benefit, MokaFive would point out is the ease of deploying their virtual desktops. At one show, Moka Five demonstrated that it was able to completely deploy a virtual desktop in twelve minutes.
MokaFive appears to be addressing several of the issues holding back adoption of virtual desktop solutions including:
- the choice of supported hardware platforms
- the choice of hypervisor
- the complexity of rolling out a virtual desktop solution
- the complexity of managing virtual desktops
- the level of control IT administrators have over virtual desktop environments
- Security of these environments
The biggest challenge facing MokaFive is not technological. The real challenge is marketing. The company faces competition from players large and small. VMware, Citrix, Virtual Computer and many other companies are shouting out their messages and showing their technology at industry events. MokaFive only has limited marketing resources. So, much of the IT market has not heard of MokaFive, doesn't know about its products and, of course, don't consider them when planning a roll out of a virtual desktop project.
It is my view that MokaFive's approach could be a very useful tool for organizations seeking ways to reduce their overall cost of desktop computing. Unfortunately, many IT and business decision-makers have never heard of MokaFive.