A while ago, I had the opportunity to speak with several representatives of Wanova, a newcomer to the desktop virtualization market. On the line with me were Jack Norris, VP Marketing; Issy Ben-Shaul, Co-founder, CTO; and Ilan Kessler, CEO and Co-Founder. The company claims to have developed a new way to manage, protect and support desktop environments for "enterprises." With few exceptions, I heard the same messages that others have presented for the past two or three years.
Here's what Wanova has to say about their product offering:
Wanova’s Distributed Desktop Virtualization provides a Centralized Virtual Desktop (CVD) in the data center. At the endpoint, Wanova’s DeskCache™ client executes a complete, local desktop instance, while Distributed Desktop Optimization (DDO) enables real-time, bi-directional transfers between the CVD and the DeskCache. Wanova also provides single image management, including mass provisioning and continuous enforcement of the base image on all computers, while enabling persistent personalization including user-installed applications.
Execution of desktop workloads is performed directly on the desktop or the laptop using the local DeskCache, resulting in a superior end-user experience with native performance and full support for offline use. Additionally, Wanova does not require a client hypervisor, so IT benefits from a complete solution that does not add additional management complexity.
Wanova’s DDV architecture is unique in that it combines advanced network optimization, desktop streaming over the WAN and image layering technologies to provide an extremely fast and optimal transport of desktop workloads. It is the first desktop virtualization approach that effectively bridges the gap between centralized management and distributed execution. Technical details can be found at www.wanova.com/pages/wanova-products.html.
Snapshot analysisAs the good folks of Wanova rolled out their presentation, I couldn't help but think of similar presentations I've heard from VMware, Citrix, Qumranet (now part of Red Hat), Virtual Computer and quite a few others. The presentation started with the usual litany of reasons why desktop virtualization has hardly taken the world of information technologies by storm. Even the venerable access virtualization from Microsoft and Citrix has only has a relatively small penetration into the market for desktop environments.
The he-said/she-said discussion of what IT administration wants and what individuals want was right on target. IT wants control and protection. Individuals want performance and flexibility without also having to worry about every little thing.
It appears that Wanova is plowing the same ground that Virtual Computer has already plowed with an additional focus on dealing with wide area network-based environments. Both focus on creating the ability to create standard "platforms" and then allow unique data and personalization to be added before delivering the desktop environment out to the individual. It appears to me that Virtual Computer has a more fine-grain approach to management. Wanova appears to have the upper hand when it comes to delivering that desktop out over a wide area network.
In the end, it is going to be difficult for Wanova to be heard over all of the other, and in some cases, very much larger competitors even if their ideas are better.