One of the three pillars of Paul Maritz's VMworld Keynote address (see Notes from VMworld and Maritz: VMware’s Virtual DataCenter OS, VMware View is better next gen operating system than Windows and Hyper-V) focused on virtualizing the user desktop computing experience. He spoke of this like it was a new idea and yet there are a host of vendors who have been offering components of this vision for quite some time. It is possible that Paul was just trying to point out that the piecemeal approach is limiting and that a more integrated approach that combines access virtualization, application virtualization, processing virtualization, the appropriate security at each level and in the context of a well managed virtualized environment is the way to go.
With that in mind, I went out to the show area and spoke with representatives of several suppliers who have spent as much as the last decade building and offering technology in this area. The following isn't an exhaustive list because your hero got exhausted walking the show floor. The following is presented in no special order. I'm just walking through my notes.
- ClearCube was demonstrating the newest of their thin client devices having the capability to present streaming media. This has been one of the bugaboos of virtual access solutions. They, along with their friend VDIworks, have developed a solution that appears powerful.
- Pano Technologies was demonstrating their cute, very small thin client device with their approach to both access virtualization. As with ClearCube, their demonstration centered on high performance streaming media.
- Qumranet presented their VDI solution, management environment and their SolidICE communications protocol. A number of different types of devices were all running high performance streaming media. A pattern is beginning to show itself here.
- Neocleus was demonstrating several highly managed, highly secure VDI-based solutions using their technology.
- Fortisphere was presenting their sophisticated VM management tool set for desktop computing environments
- Virtual Computer was demonstration their own approach to a highly managed, highly secure VDI-based solution. Their technology was interesting in that it allowed each of the layers of technology making up a desktop solution (application, data, personalization and underlying operating system) to be managed from a common repository.
- Citrix was showing a range of solutions that integrated access virtualization, application virtualization and virtual machine software. If anything their demonstration underscored that VMware is a bit behind in this area.