HP refines virtualized desktops

HP has introduced software aimed at improving the user experience of thin-client desktops, in an effort to encourage enterprises to adopt desktop virtualization.
Written by Matthew Broersma, Contributor

HP has introduced software aimed at making thin-client desktops better to use, with improved video playback and the ability to plug in USB peripherals, and in hope of encouraging enterprises to adopt desktop virtualization.

The new software, announced on Monday, is part of a portfolio called Virtual Client Essentials, a rebranded and expanded version of the company's existing desktop virtualization suite. The new suite also includes Linux support for Session Allocation Manager (SAM), a brokering software that previously only supported Windows.

The move comes on the heels of an IDC study released last week which predicted virtualization would be one of the technologies to continue attracting IT spending despite the recession.

Virtual Client Essentials is designed to address the perceived trade-off between centralizing desktops using virtualization technology and delivering a satisfying user experience, HP said. Desktop virtualization allows large numbers of desktop operating systems to be run from a single server, and is designed to reduce costs and simplify administration.

The suite includes two protocol options designed to improve multimedia playback on virtualized desktops, called Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) Enhancements and Remote Graphics Software (RGS).

RDP Enhancements is designed for customers using HP thin clients and Microsoft RDP, and improves multimedia and USB device support. It will be available next month for Windows XP-based HP thin clients, and will be pre-installed on most HP thin clients.

HP said it expects to add support for Linux-based thin clients "in the near future".

RGS is designed to improve multimedia performance on clients hosted in VMware data centers, and accelerates a range of multimedia types including Flash and QuickTime. It supports USB multimedia devices such as Webcams and audio devices, for applications such as videoconferencing, HP said.

The graphics package features expanded collaboration features for the exchange of design images, 3D models, full-motion video and other large graphics.

The suite also includes Session Allocation Manager (SAM), a session broker for remote clients providing connectivity and management features, and Image Manager, a previously existing package for streaming operating systems and applications, HP said.

RDP Enhancements will be available as a free download from January. RGS is available now, with different licensing rates, depending on the platform. Session Allocation Manager is available for download now, for US$69 per seat, from HP's website.

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