RES Software has introduced a tool that lets people use locally running applications and virtual desktop environments in tandem.
PowerFuse Workspace Extender, announced on Thursday, promises to let IT departments deliver remote server-based and local desktop-based applications in a single virtualised environment, without the user being aware of the underlying infrastructure. For example, it will allow a user to write from the virtual desktop onto a CD on the local computer, RES said.
Although there are point solutions available to help specific applications run in a virtual desktop environment, the RES software application is the first to address the entire infrastructure, said Clive Longbottom, a research director at Quocirca.
"It's pretty impressive, because you're able to give people access to the enhanced functions they expect on their PC, but keep the management benefits and reduced TCO of thin client or virtual desktops," he said.
Camberley, Surrey-based RES also announced on Thursday that is has been granted a European patent for "methods to enhance a remote desktop with applications that run locally", which underpin the new tool.
The technology is designed to be used where organisations want the benefits of server-based computing but need reliable access to high-bandwidth applications such as VoIP, video-editing or graphics software, said Ron Grevink, a marketing executive at RES.
"What we've found is that people using virtual desktops often find that video is clunky and unreliable, despite a lot of work on optimising the infrastructure and standards," Grevink said. "What PowerFuse does is allow you to easily specify where different applications should run, so you get the benefits of server-based computing while also being able to use local applications where you need them."
The new software, which the company intends to demonstrate at the VMworld 2009 conference next week, is available for download free in a standard edition for up to 200 users, and costs £31 per user for an enterprise licence.
"This isn't necessarily something you'll invest in for every employee, but if you're rolling out server-based computing to 10,000 people, identifying the 4,000 that would benefit from this technology could make a real difference to the numbers," said Longbottom.