Start-up firm Wanova is planning to introduce a desktop virtualisation technology with a twist, in that it works across desktop and laptop systems and does not require costly datacentre infrastructure, according to the firm.
The Distributed Desktop Virtualisation (DDV) architecture, currently undergoing customer trials, downloads the user's desktop environment from a centrally managed image held in the datacentre onto their endpoint system, where it is executed locally.
This architecture enables administrators to maintain a centrally managed corporate client image, but also enables users to work offline and personalise their environment, Wanova explained.
"We saw the promise of virtualisation, but the problem [with existing virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) technology] is that the management is too complex, it's too expensive and it does not work for mobile workers with a laptop, especially when they are offline," said Wanova chief technology officer Issy Ben-Shaul.
DDV puts the entire contents of the user's desktop into the datacentre but, unlike other VDI solutions, this image is not normally executed. Instead, it is copied to the user's endpoint by Wanova's DeskCache client.
This Centralised Virtual Desktop (CVD) represents the content of a user's entire desktop, including the operating system, applications, configuration and data. All data changes made by the user are propagated back to the datacentre.
Ben-Shaul said that the company's Distributed Desktop Optimisation technology enables CVDs to be deployed quickly, even over a wide area network connection.
Customers also do not require so much infrastructure in the datacentre, according to Ben-Shaul. "All we need is enough compute power for image management," he said.
In another departure from rival VDI solutions, DDV does not require a hypervisor on the endpoint system, just the DeskCache client.
Ben-Shaul claimed that this enables the user's CVD environment to be easily moved from one endpoint to another. If a laptop is lost or fails, the CVD can be quickly deployed to a replacement endpoint, he said.
However, the technology does not yet support a 'kill pill' to disable a CVD on a lost or stolen laptop.
"This isn't in the current offering, but will be included in the future. At the moment we have the ability to disable some functions," said Ben-Shaul.
Ewen Anderson, managing director of consultancy firm Centralis, said that Wanova's product is interesting, but that the company has yet to prove itself as an enterprise provider.
"On paper the solution clearly ticks a number of critical boxes - central standards, image broadcast and update over the wide area network, no client-side hypervisor, offline working and thousands of users per server. Quite how this translates into real-world performance and product will be interesting," he said.
Wanova's Distributed Desktop Virtualisation is set to be officially introduced at VMware's VMworld 2009 conference in San Francisco at the end of August, when further details, including licensing, will be disclosed.
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