Virtual Computer wants users of server-hosted virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) to know about what it thinks is a better way to offer secure, managed Windows desktop environments, the use of Intelligent Desktop Virtualization (IDV.) Virtual Computer feels so strongly that IDV is a better approach that is it offering free NxTop licenses as a way to introduce the concept to IT decision-makers.
What Virtual Computer has to sayThe company points out that server-hosted virtual desktops can be more expensive than "intelligent desktop virtualization" when the costs of staff, processing, memory, storage and networking are considered. To make that point, Virtual Computer is now offering organizations looking to replace VDI licenses the opportunity to receive one free replacement NxTop license with the purchase of each NxTop license during the roll-out of desktop virtualization to the rest of the organization.
Virtual Computer asserts that companies have found server-hosted VDI to be difficult and expensive to deploy. They would point out that customers face numerous challenges associated with server-hosted VDI, including high infrastructure costs, performance issues, and limited mobility, which have forced companies to delay or freeze implementations.
Virtual Computer points out that combining centralized management with local execution, Intelligent Desktop Virtualization with NxTop, solves these problems. This would allows businesses to use desktop virtualization without also facing a large capital cost. Furthermore, Virtual Computer suggests that the user experience is not compromised nor is it necessary to completely re-working desktop management practices.
What is desktop virtualization anyway?Virtualization: A Managers Guide from O'Reilly Media, points out that desktop virtualization is the use of one or more of three different types of virtualization technology. Here's how the book describes the concept of desktop virtualization:
When “desktop virtualization” is used to describe making it possible for people to access a physical or virtual system remotely, access virtualization technology is used to capture the user interface portion of an application. It is then converted to a neutral format and projected across the network to a device that can display the user interface and allow the user to enter and access information. This means that just about any type of network-enabled device could be used to access the application. Suppliers such as Citrix, Microsoft, and VMware offer client software for tablets, smartphones, laptops, and PC, making it possible for users of those devices to access the applications running elsewhere on the network.
When “desktop virtualization” is used to describe encapsulating an application using client-side application virtualization technology and then projecting it in whole or piecemeal to a remote system for execution, the application could either remain on that client device or be deleted once the user completes the task, depending on the settings used by the IT administrator (see Figure 9-4). This means, of course, that the client system has to run the operating system needed by the application. So, Windows ap- plications, for example, would need to run on Windows executing on a PC or laptop.
When “desktop virtualization” is used to describe encapsulating the entire stack of software that runs on a client system, the phase starts to take on a great deal of com- plexity (see Figure 9-5). That encapsulated virtual client system becomes highly mobile. Here are the possibilities:
- One or more virtual client systems could execute on a single physical client system. This allows personal applications to run side by side with locked-down corporate applications.
- Local execution. Virtual client systems could run on a local blade server. The user interface is projected to physical PCs, laptops, or thin client systems using access virtualization technology.
- Remote execution. Virtual client systems could run on a server that resides in the organization’s data center. The user interface is projected to physical PCs, laptops, or thin client systems using access virtualization technology.
Since the industry is using the same phrase to describe all of these different approaches, the concept of desktop virtualization can be quite confusing to those unfamiliar with all of the different types of technology that could be pressed into service.
Snapshot analysisVirtual Computer supplies the first type of desktop virtualization and suggests that the virtual client system should be executed locally, not back in the data center on a server. This approach effectively deals with a number of issues including:
- Server-based processing, memory, and storage is typically more costly than that found on a laptop or desktop system
- Server-based virtual clients consume a great deal of processing, memory, storage and network bandwidth. Expanding data center capacity is costly.
- Staff are increasingly mobile. Accessing complete virtual client systems remotely requires a great deal of bandwidth. If a network link is unavailable, the staff member may not be able use a server-hosted virtual client at all.
Virtual Computer's approach allows organizations to manage operating system images, application images, user data and user personalization settings centrally and still offer all of the benefits of local execution.
Virtual Computer competes with several companies that are offering different technology that all address the same issues, including MokaFive, Wanova and Citrix. Although the company's technology is sound and it can demonstrate the technology's benefits, the company has to be found and the product evaluated to win over customers.
Most IT decision-makers would agree that "free is a good price." Offering some free NxTop licenses to introduce the concept is likely to catch the attention of IT decision-makers who are interested in the benefits of a controlled, secure desktop environment, but are concerned about the costs of server-hosted virtual clients.