I've been tracking the development cycle of several virtual desktop environments. Virtual Computer's NxTop is one of the more interesting I've bee following. I've looked in on what the company's doing several times (seeDesktop virtualization according to Virtual Computer andVirtual Computer Round B and Citrix for more information). Although virtual machine technology is at the heart of NxTop, the real focus is management - management of the operating systems, applications and user data hosted by that virtual machine environment. This simple change in focus makes all the difference.
Doug Lane, Virtual Computer's senior manager of product management and marketing, brought me up to date on NxTop's progress from being merely a vision to actual, workable software. NxTop has entered a round of beta testing and is coming closer and closer to being a real product.
The company is deploying an interesting rapid, incremental development effort. That is the code under development is put into the hands of real customers. The feedback from those customers is folded immediately into the development cycle. Doug told me that customers' input meant that some functions were enhanced beyond what Virtual Computer thought would be necessary for a version 1 product and others that the company thought would be of very high priority were moved down the list.
I'm eager to speak with one of the beta testers to get his/her view of this technology and what benefits it really produced. I'll let you know when I've chatted with one of them. If you'd like to be considered to be part of Virtual Computer's NxTop beta test program, just click here.