John Whaley, Moka5 founder and principal engineer, and I spoke for a short while recently about Moka5's products (largely in beta at this point), the target audience for those products and the competitive environment. Thanks for spending so much time with me, John! It appears to me that Moka5's products, including LivePC, Moka5 Engine™ Mac Edition, Moka5 Engine™ Windows Edition and Moka5 Engine™ Bare Metal Edition, live on the border between application virtualization, virtual machine software and management of virtual resources. This means that there are many different products that could be seen as competitive.
How Moka5 describes their products
LivePCs contain a complete PC software environment — operating system and applications — that users can create for themselves and share with others. LivePCs are played using the moka5 Engine™ and are created using tools inside the moka5 Engine. When you join the moka5 community, you can download different LivePCs from the moka5 LivePC Library™, a public listing of LivePC images. Some of these LivePCs have been created by moka5 and others have been created by other users. These LivePCs were all created for you to test and see how the moka5 technology works.
Moka5 would also point out that it is easily possible for people to use multiple LivePCs simultaneously, that these LivePCs are updated every time they're booted making them self healing, the automatic updates also mean that LivePCs are automatically up to date, and they can work online or off line.
Snapshot analysisThe strengths of Moka5's approach are clear. It is a simple, easy-to-use approach to offering an encapsulated, safe application environment for mobile staff, students or others needing a highly controlled environment. It appears to offer all of the tools needed to easily integrate this type of virtualization into an organization's IT infrastructure. They even off pre-encapsulated environments and are asking the community to contribute more.
The weaknesses Moka5 is dealing with are those typically faced by a start up having a new product. The company has yet to develop a track record that decision-makers could examine. I suspect that many of the users of beta software will purchase the software when it is released, thus offering a remedy to Moka5.
The opportunities are rather broad and yet this approach to providing computing has only gained a narrow foothold in the market.
The competitive threats include virtual access providers, such as Microsoft and Citrix; virtual machine software suppliers, such as Citrix XenSource, Microsoft; and companies offering combinations of hardware, software and tools, such as LANdesk, Thinstall and even Qumranet.