Ncomputing offers a different take on VDI

Ncomputing offers VDI solution based upon operating system virtualization and partitioning, an extremely efficient approach to virtual desktops.

Ncomputing recently announced vSpace Server 6.5, a virtual desktop implementation based upon operating system virtualization and partitioning rather than upon virtual machine software.

In the past, Ncomputing offered a physical host-based version of its operating system virtualization technology that could support a surprising number of Windows or Linux users on a single PC. This time, that technology is being offered to run on a server.

What is operating system virtualization/partitioning?

In Virtualization: A Manager's Guide, I described operating system virtualization/partitioning in the following way.

Operating system virtualization and partitioning allows many applications to run under a single operating system and gives each a completely isolated, protected environment. Each application functions as if it is running on its own system and is managing its own resources.

Why is it more efficient?

Virtual machine technology makes it possible for a complete stack of software to be encapsulated to run as either a virtual client, desktop or virtual server. While this makes it possible to increase the system density, that is the number of user workloads a single physical system can support, it also means that each and every virtual system contains a copy of the operating system, application frameworks, database engine and user data.

Operating system virtualization/partitioning software takes a different approach. It extends the multiuser capabilities of the operating system by encapsulating user workloads so that they act as if they were running on a separate system. These workloads can be stopped and started without having any impact on other encapsulated workloads on the same physical system. This approach is far more efficient because each virtual system is running as a single process under a multi-user operating system. There is only a single copy of the operating system in use. This approach, of course, is also far easier to install and manage because there is a single operating system to feed and care for.

Snapshot analysis

Often organizations select virtual machine software to create virtual clients, desktops or servers because that approach is more highly publicized. Operating system virtualization/partitioning is a more efficient approach and should be prefered unless the virtual systems are to host different operating systems. In that case, virtual machine software is a better approach.

Modern versions of UNIX and Linux have offered operating system virtualization/partitioning for well over a decade. Ncomputing and Parallels have been offering similar technology for Windows for a number of years.

If your organization is considering the deployment of virtual desktops, it would be wise to evaluate Ncomputing's approach. It is quite likely that you'll be surprised by the efficiency and performance offered by their approach.