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Virtual Computer uses virtualisation to manage laptops

30 Jun 2009
Virtual Computer
Virtual Computer's NxTop is designed to make laptops easier to manage

Virtual Computer is introducing its NxTop virtualisation technology into Europe, with the aim of making business laptops easier to manage.

Available immediately, NxTop enables IT departments to create a single Windows virtual machine image that can be deployed across all client systems in a company, reducing management overheads. It is primarily aimed at corporate laptops, but can just as easily be deployed on desktops, according to the firm.

Coinciding with the firm's European launch is the release of NxTop 1.1, which adds enhancements such as greater scalability and the ability for end users to customise their environment, just as they would on a standard Windows PC.

"Our goal is that the user won't know they aren't using a standard PC. There should be no reduction in usability," said Virtual Computer vice president of sales Sandrijn Stead.

NxTop makes management easier by separating out the operating system from the user profile and applications, so that a single 'gold' image can be deployed to all users.

"What we do is separate the physical disk into virtual disks, one with the operating system, another with user data, and additional functions such as security and anti-virus," explained Stead. "With our solution, it's as easy to manage 1,000 PCs as it is to manage one."

NxTop comprises the NxTop Centre management console and the NxTop Engine, a bare-metal hypervisor running on the client hardware. The two are linked to apply policy and updates to the operating system inside the virtual client image.

However, the link is bi-directional so that user data and settings are synchronised back to the datacentre, according to Stead.

"If you lose your laptop, transferring all your data and settings to a new one is a pain. With NxTop, you can rebuild your environment in a matter of minutes onto a new system," he said.

The technology sounds similar to Citrix's forthcoming XenClient, and NxTop is likewise based on the Xen hypervisor while Citrix is also an investor in Virtual Computer, Stead revealed.

Although NxTop has been available for about three months, it can only currently be acquired through the company web site. However, Virtual Computer is about to disclose a number of reseller partners in Europe, Stead said.

NxTop release 1.1 is available under a perpetual licence at $150 (£91) per seat, plus a $40 (£24) per seat annual maintenance and support charge.

Stead said he is confident that businesses will find this an attractive price for the benefits it can offer.

"Most organisations are looking to save money right now, and that's what we can do for them very quickly," he said.

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Daniel Robinson

Daniel Robinson is technology editor at V3, and has been working as a technology journalist for over two decades. Dan has served on a number of publications including PC Direct and enterprise news publication IT Week. Areas of coverage include desktops, laptops, smartphones, enterprise mobility, storage, networks, servers, microprocessors, virtualisation and cloud computing.

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