Virtualization Review: Why Myths Should Be Left To The Gods

January 5, 2011

Simon Rust, VP Technology, AppSense, has written a very interesting article as part of his series on Virtualization Review looking at some of the myths surrounding Desktop Virtualization and how in reality, when VDI is designed, implemented and managed correctly, these are in fact just myths and should not stop us from adopting desktop virtualization technologies.

In his article, Simon dispels the following 4 myths:

Myth 1: VDI is storage-heavy and therefore cost-heavy.

Myth 2: VDI is too hard.

Myth 3: Virtualization and the cloud are one and the same.

Myth 4: VDI is merely an extension of Server Based Computing (SBC).

You can read the article over on Virtualization Review here.

Hope you enjoy, and am keen to hear your thoughts.

Cheers

Gaz



Andrew Wood article from PubForum; AppSense User Rights Management & User Installed Applications

June 15, 2010

Following on from the recent PubForum event, Andrew Wood (Twitter @gilwood_cs) has published an interesting article over on The Virtualization Practice relating to some of the new functionality AppSense were demonstrating as part of our 2010 product release schedule.  The article discusses the possibilities and options with regards to ‘can you give power to users responsibly’ ?

At present, we are limited to providing either;
Administrator Accounts or Standard User Accounts
and
The ability to install everything or prevent the installation of anything

For many organizations and users this is not a viable option, certain users require access to controls and applications that require Admin credentials to access or change; however IT do not want users to have access to everything else available to an Administrative user.

Likewise, some users may require the ability to install their own business related applications, or more importantly have their user installed applications made available across desktop delivery mechanisms or persists between non-persistent virtual desktop sessions.

Both of these challenges will be address by AppSense in 2010 in the form of our USer Rights Management and also User Installed Application technologies; both of which were presented and demo’d at PubForum – of which Andrew has detail he thoughts on the use cases, pro’s and con’s of such a solution offering.

You can read his article in full here.

Further information on these technologies can be found here on the AppSense Community Blog:

NEW AppSense Functionality Being Demo’d At Citrix Synergy – “User Rights Management”

What is a user-installed application and why should we care?

User Installed Applications (UIA) by any other name?

Many thanks, and keen to hear your thoughts on our forthcoming products

Cheers

Gaz


AppSense (Martin Ingram) Article posted on ComputerWorld: Taming the Laptop

June 4, 2010

AppSense VP of Strategy Martin Ingram has written an article about mobile computing and the introduction of client hypervisors.  He examines the pro’s and con’s of the client side hypervisor, and the challenges we may be faced with as part of adoption and implementation…

The article can be read here

Thanks

Gaz



DV Adoption – It’s all about the user experience

February 12, 2010

I was reading recently a blog entry by Bruce Hoard over at the Virtualization Review.  Titled 2010: A watershed year for VDI, the article talks about the results of a survey of some 1500 IT execs about implementing desktop virtualization.  I think many people agree that 2010 will be the proof-year for VDI (65.7% of respondents in this case), but what was interesting about this survey was the degree to which respondents were highlighting user experience as critical to the success of their VDI roll-outs.  From “factors used to evaluate success of VDI projects” (83% said end “user experience”) to “likely obstacles to full scale VDI deploy” (answer…”user resistance to giving up existing desktops”) it seems evident that regardless of the business model and technologies you are planning to use for your VDI project, compromising the user experience in any way makes those considerations moot. 

So what composes the user experience?  Well, there’s performance for one….a slower desktop is bad news.  Mobility in HVD is another…..”what do you mean I can’t take my desktop home?”, and of course a predictable and personal working experience is another. 

Making the move from physical to virtual (or mixed) environments promises to bring increased flexibility, better business planning capabilities, and higher levels of productivity (oh and maybe reduced cost?!).  So why shouldn’t it not just create a similar user experience to the PC, but a better one?  With better network protocols, accessing devices, operating systems and applications, why shouldn’t the user experience improve with virtualization? 

We see customers who have implemented our user virtualization technology providing better experiences to their users – not just the same as the PC.  For example, a consistent personal desktop experience from anywhere at any time (“you mean my work and home PCs can have the same look and feel without me doing anything?”), the ability to still have a fully personalized VDI desktop when not on the company network, even the ability to take your ‘personality’ with you across geographic, OS, accessing device and contextual boundaries without it having to be tied to one monolithic desktop.  Since with user virtualization the personality is managed independent of the desktop, the underlying ‘corporate’ OS and apps are freshly provided every time access is required, hence they are always new, clean and up-to-date – no build up of trash! Nice! 

Combining user virtualization technology with improved protocols, accessing devices, OS’s, apps and delivery mechanisms is a proven ‘best practice’ approach to ensuring that this most important of considerations is nailed from day one.  Don’t implement VDI without it!

Pete Rawlinson, VP Marketing, AppSense


Citrix and OK Labs – one of my predictions is already in play

February 2, 2010

One of my predictions for 2010 was that either mobile hypervisors would breakthrough or a de-facto standard would emerge (perhaps Apple or RIM). Today Citrix and OK Labs announced that they will be working together to create a hypervisor and an appliance containing the Citrix receiver so that mobile phones can access hosted desktops and applications, independent of device hardware.

This announcement puts a cat among the pigeons by bringing Citrix into play and may be the catalyst that is needed to make a mobile hypervisor a reality. Previously VMware was the only desktop virtualization major with a mobile hypervisor, from the acquisition of Trango, but they had not made much progress in bringing it to market. Those of you familiar with how desktop virtualization developed will be aware that real innovation was only triggered when Citrix and VMware became directly competitive. From that point on development was rapid and lead to the desktop virtualization products we use today.

Perhaps the entrance of Citrix into the mobile hypervisor space will trigger a similar flood of innovation?

Martin Ingram



AppSense 2010 predictions – Updated: One prediction may already be coming true.

January 22, 2010

*** Update 3rd Feb ’10::  It would appear prediction #9 may already be coming into play.  Please see #9 for more info. ***

At the end of last year I made some predictions for how I think desktop virtualization will develop in 2010. People who have listened to Brian Madden TV’s prediction show ( http://www.brianmadden.com/blogs/tv/archive/2010/01/22/brian-madden-tv-27-2010-trends-and-predictions.aspx) will have heard references to some of them and I think the time is right to share the whole list with our broader readership. I am interested in your thoughts too, feel free to comment whether you agree or disagree.

Martin Ingram

1. The Proof Year for Hosted Virtual Desktops

From talking to our numerous customers and partners around the world, we see there is now general acceptance that the componentized desktop model is the way to go, and there is a good understanding of the sorts of benefits we will see.  We believe 2010 will see a distinct move to non-persistent, component-based desktops in large enterprises as challenges such as how to manage the user experience in a standardized desktop environment are solved by software providers.  We see more and more enterprises moving from PoC to full implementation.  As they say ‘the proof of the pudding is in the eating’ and 2010 will be the proof year for hosted virtual desktops.

2. DV implementations will move from PoC to full implementations (the first >20K seat implementation will occur in 2010)

With over 4000 customers around the world, we are seeing many of our PoC implementations start to convert to full roll outs.  This is important because it means the business case for virtualized client computing is being proven by delivering independent, quantifiable, benefits.  As with any new technology, it is only at this stage that it becomes easy for the majority of organizations to make decisions on future technologies.  We believe that the first 20,000+ seat implementation of a virtualized desktop will go live in 2010.

3. Client Virtualization starts to take off

The principal area of innovation in 2010 will be client virtualization, specifically virtualization of laptops. Client hypervisors from Citrix and VMware will ship and join those from Neocleus and Virtual Computer. These products support very different management models and the big debate of the year is going to be ‘how do we actually want to manage users on virtualized clients?’.  The hypervisor itself is only a small part of a client virtualization solution and most of the benefits come from changes to how we manage the platform rather than the introduction of the hypervisor itself. The model that will be ultimately successful will be based on componentization, similar in many ways to the model that is being implemented now in hosted desktop virtualization, but with some modifications. The modifications will be necessary to take account of the basic difference between a mobile device such as a laptop and a server in the data center – intermittent network connectivity. Key to success will be to preserve the essential features of componentization such as getting economies of scale across software components and delivery of the user environment in this more challenging platform. There are several techniques that are good candidates for this and we will see active debate throughout the year on their pros and cons. Given the proportion of laptops in business today and the imperative to get to a single management methodology across both hosted and roaming users, this will be an important and lively discussion. One of the outcomes will be the importance of choosing a user environment management solution that delivers across all of the platforms in use in the business be they hosted or client, virtualized or traditional.

4. The first commercially viable UIA solution

Since we believe that the non-persistent, component-based desktop model will be the prevalent virtual desktop model in 2010, we also believe that the emergence of a commercially viable solution to manage users ‘personal’ applications will happen in 2010.  By standardizing the corporate desktop and separating it into its constituent parts, (corporate OS, corporate apps and user), the problem with non-corporate user apps remains.  User-installed applications in a non-persistent desktop model is a real challenge and cannot be solved easily.  The inevitable adoption of the non-persistent desktop model will bring a solution to market in 2010.

5. DaaS will begin the move to a more economical non-persistent, standardized desktop model

DaaS solutions out there today are based on a 1:1 user to desktop model.  Although many organizations benefit from subscription-based desktop management, the costs associated with managing and storing many unique desktop images will inhibit the adoption of this model.  By moving to a standardized desktop and separate user personality, significant economies of scale will be realized and DaaS will become a reality for more organizations.

6. Cloud Computing will show little progress in client computing (DaaS being just the first step and the only area of activity)

The Cloud Computing model for client computing will take several years to progress to a mainstream solution, depending primarily on Cloud Orchestration standards and high availability bandwidth.  We do believe, however, that the advent of non-persistent desktops in the newly-emerging DaaS model will begin the move of Cloud from theoretical hype to serious business case consideration. However DaaS is only part of the Cloud model of client computing and there is still plenty that needs doing to enable integration of services across multiple service providers

7. BYOPC morphs into HAPC

While the concept of BYOPC is attractive, in reality, this model is unlikely to be widely adopted by employees.  Support and warranty issues will cause unnecessary headaches for users and many will inevitably contact their own company support desk for assistance anyway.  What is more likely is the use of desktop virtualization in HAPC (Home Access PC).  Employees will be more likely to use their static home PC for work use out of hours and keep their work PC at the office.  A non-persistent virtual desktop model works well in this scenario, as long as the employee has a predictable and personal experience across both devices. These users will be served by either hosted solutions(SBC/HVD) or local execution, the ‘new thing’ here is local execution.

8. Desktop component delivery commoditizes

As non-persistent corporate desktop images become the norm, the standardization and automation of the delivery of these assets will become less valuable and the updating of the source image and the management of the user’s individual environment will increase in value.  Platform providers will deliver efficient means of delivering desktops and corporate applications from a standardized source image, with the management of these source images becoming the value-add in the mid-term.

Longer term, image management will move to become a service that is provided by software vendors and will be part of our contracts with the vendors. Configuration and personalization of applications will remain inside the business because so much of the information involved is business and user specific. This becomes a major direction for user environment management.

9. We reach a decision point on the mobile platform for client computing – virtualization or a de-facto standard. – Updated

Currently there are few corporate applications available to run on phone platforms. In part this is a result of the platform variance that has existed to date which would have required an application developer to support each platform separately. For a number of years vendors have been working on hypervisors for mobile devices that would allow a single common view across all the devices. VMware bought Trango a year or so back and investment was rife. This year we will either see virtualization get adopted for mobile platforms or a single platform adopted instead. If not virtualization what would the platform be? Android is too new, Microsoft suffers from platform variance perhaps leaving Apple or RIM to become the de facto standard for mobile devices – there is a sizable chance of Apple ousting Microsoft because of a lack of consistency in the Microsoft platform. Whoever moves to take this position will have to find a better, more business focused, way of selling applications than AppStores.

*** Update 3rd Feb ’10: It would appear this may be coming true with the recent new of Citrix and OK Labs, please see my latest blog post on this matter here ***

10.  Stand-alone application virtualization ISVs will find 2010 a real business challenge

Application virtualization is an increasing important component in desktop virtualization, and this will continue through 2010 and beyond.  Such is the importance of this mechanism, that we expect smaller, independent ISVs specializing in this area to become either swallowed up by the platform vendors (like Softricity and Thinstall) or find new directions.