HP Velocity - network performance management for mobility

Network bandwidth is a crucial, often overlooked, resource for thin client and virtual desktop workloads. Improper use of available bandwidth can create poor performance or failure of some workloads. HP says its Velocity can manage that resource and improve overall performance.

Tom Flynn, of HP, stopped by to discuss HP's Velocity, a network performance management product designed to enhance performance in thin client and virtual desktop environments. HP is announcing the availability of this product at Citrix's Synergy today.

I believe that HP is offering network virtualization technology that has the potential of solving performance problems found in those environments. Let's consider what HP is saying about this product.

Here's what HP has to say about Velocity

  • HP Velocity enhanced with latency and congestion control optimization. Networks are dynamic, with constantly changing conditions. This is especially true of the Wi-Fi and 3G/4G networks used for many mobile thin clients. HP Velocity, included with HP thin clients, intelligently adapts to network conditions, improving network utilization to help ensure telecommuters, branch office workers and mobile users experience less distortion when using real-time communication applications.
  • The HP mt40 Mobile Thin Client is now Citrix Ready HDX Premium Verified with an Intel® Celeron® processor. Combined with HP Velocity, the HP mt40 provides the security of a mobile thin client with the performance required to offer excellent end-user experiences. For example, users are able to easily process multimedia, such as training videos, while on the road.
  • HP now supports Citrix Excalibur and Citrix Receiver 13 on HP t410 HDX-SOC platforms. HP thin clients running Citrix HDX-System on Chip (SoC) technology offer the high performance necessary to run VoIP or other multimedia over a challenging network. (2) The system also offers low power consumption, which makes it ideal for use in older buildings or at any location where reduced energy use is essential.
  • HP Thin Clients also are now qualified to work with the following unified communication (UC) solutions:
    • Avaya VDI Communicator UC
    • Cisco UC backend
    • Citrix Lync Optimization pack
    • Microsoft Lync 2013 native UC

Snapshot analysis

The key ingredient in HP Velocity is the ability to closely monitor and manage the use of network bandwidth. That is to place each type of network connection into a virtual environment so that each different type of communication protocol can see an optimal environment even though the physical link is limited.

Thin client and VDI workloads are often attempting to support traditional transactional applications; video and audio streaming; and, increasingly, Voice over IP (VoIP) workloads over just about any type of network connection available to the individual. This means dealing with bandwidth and latency issues as well as noisy connections so that the individual using these tools experiences good performance.

Communication data coming from VoIP and both video and audio streaming workloads is bursty in nature and doesn't deal very well with links that are noisy or exhibit very long latency.

Transactional workloads, on the other hand, have often been designed to deal with imperfect communications links and not lose data.

HP believes that with proper intelligence applied even marginal links can be utilized in thin client and VDI environments. It reminds me very much of the type of intelligence that my former colleagues at Digital Equipment developed for the company's networking product, DECnet.

HP isn't the only supplier working on this set of problems. Citrix, Microsoft, IBM, Cisco and Juniper are all developing their own network virtualization technology to address these same issues.

All-in-all, HP's Velocity appears to be a good example of how network virtualization technology can be used to improve performance, reliability and usability in commonly found networking environments. The only catch I see is that HP is largely deploying this technology in HP-centric environments.

If your organization is building thin client or VDI solutions based upon HP's thin clients or HP's line of servers, this technology could mean the difference between success or failure.