Paul Ghostine, of Provision Networks, and I enjoyed a quick discussion of some of the biggest headaches faced by those seeking a workable access virtualization solution and what his organization was planning to do about them. Well, at least I enjoyed the conversation. Paul may have found the whole experience painful for all I know.
What are those big headaches? Access virtualization has long faced a number of intractable problems including, how to deliver good performance on graphics-intensive applications, how to make keyboard/mouse interactions responsive and how to deal with the needs of mobile staff members.
Provision Networks is attempting to address them all. In Provision Network's own words, here are quick descriptions of what's coming in the future to address those issues:
Provision Networks Technology Previews
Multimedia Redirection and Graphics Acceleration: “Project GAP” – Graphics Acceleration Pack for RDP. Available as a technology preview at VMworld, the technology optimizes the end-user experience for multimedia content and graphics-rich applications over the Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol, delivering the local desktop experience from a Terminal Server, blade PC or hosted virtual desktop. Project GAP supports Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, and the upcoming Windows Server 2008.
Keyboard and Mouse Acceleration: “Project TypeAhead” – Latency Reduction for RDP. Also available as a technology preview, this technology eliminates the effects of high latency connections to hosted virtual desktops and provides instant feedback to users on their local terminals.
Untethered Virtual Desktop Mobility: “Project GoVDI” – Through an OEM agreement with Vizioncore, a leader in virtual infrastructure management solutions, majority-owned by Quest Software Inc. (Nasdaq: QSFT), Provision Networks is leveraging Vizioncore’s backup and replication technology to enable the checking-in and checking-out of virtual desktops through the Virtual Access Suite.
Image Virtualization: “Project CIMS” – Common Image Management Specification. CIMS offers a system for booting multiple virtual desktops from a common disk image. CIMS drastically reduces the storage requirements and the complexity of patch management in a virtual desktop infrastructure.
A number of industry players, including heavyweights such as Citrix and Microsoft, have all known about these issues for quite some time. For the most part, they did their best to ignore these issues hoping that the ever-increasing availability and coverage of high performance wireless networks would make these issues "go away." It hasn't happened yet. I know from my own recent personal experience that using an access virtualization solution over T-Mobile's 2.5 G wireless network is a bit painful.
Organizations are seeking the benefits of central management and control, improvied security and reduced costs of administration, software licenses and, in some cases, hardware as well. Some organizations ahve gone ahead with access virtualization solutions and others simply are waiting on the sidelines for a better story to emerge.
The projects Provision Networks has spoken about may go a long way towards getting those on the sidelines to move.
Provision Networks faces challenges, however. Getting the technology to work in all conditions is merely the first hurdle. A bigger one is getting their story in front of decision makers. As the company can present success stories based upon the deployment of each of these projects, they'll be in a better position.
Does your organization use an access virtualization solution? If so, which one? What can you say about the success of these deployments?