Parallels acquires 2X. A deeper analysis.

As you probably know by now, Parallels Inc. has acquired 2X Software Ltd, one of the smaller players in the VDI/SBC space, in case you did not know that.

Like Brian, I always have a soft spot for the smaller vendors out there like 2X and Thinspace for the simple reason I truly believe there is no perfect product for all the use cases out there. What I do believe is using the right tool for the task and in many environments we ended up using Thinspace and 2X as Citrix was indeed overkill and the customer needed a little bit more than plain RDS.

If you were not even aware of these smaller vendors I highly recommend you to watch my BriForum 2014 Boston presentation. Main problem is I have no clue where Brian and Gabe put it. So please head over to http://www.brianmadden.com and ask them where it is.

To make your life a little easier I will just mention the usual small vendors we deal with:

2X itself is probably the one I have the softest spot for. The reason for that is back in 2005 2X acquired my own Terminal-Services.NET and all the Windows intellectual property we had became what is known today as the 2X Remote Application Server and the 2X LoadBalancer. No matter what Alex (yes, that guy that organizes the most disorganized and shittiest IT conference for alcoholics – E2EVC) tells you, the products were good, reason why customers like Hilton Hotels and John Deere used them… So I do know these products well.

Back to the topic, there is more to this acquisition and let me explain why.

First of all, pretty much everyone that has a Mac is aware of Parallels. They were the first company to release a decent type-2 hypervisor for OSX so you could run Windows VMs on your Mac, something that probably 90% of all Mac users out there do on a daily basis. Sure VMware later joined the party with VMware Fusion but Parallels was always perceived as the leader on this space. At least based on my own tests (I have both products) Parallels was always better on the graphics department and faster in general. Things may have changed with the latest and greatest releases though. The point here is not who is the best but the simply fact Parallels is a well known brand with regular people, end-users and IT geeks.

Then Parallels released Parallels Access, a solution to allow you to remotely access your Mac/PC, like many other products on the market (i.e. GoToMyPC, LogMeIn, etc). Difference is they pretty much nailed the whole translation of a desktop GUI to a mobile/tablet device GUI making accessing desktop apps on any device a much easier thing. If you have no clue what I am talking about, take a look at their YouTube channel.

Finally there is the Parallels most people are not aware of. The company behind Plesk, Parallels Automation and Virtuozzo. If you are an IT geek or someone working for a hosting provider I can bet you have heard of that Parallels.

To make a long story short, Parallels is used at probably 10,000+ hosting providers out there on a daily basis, reaching millions of customers. What they do is automate the whole management layer required at that level (i.e. provisioning the required services subscribed – web servers, wordpress, etc, handling customer creation/permissions/etc, provisioning the required software stack, etc) and also provide a robust and potentially much more efficient virtualization layer with their container approach (that is what Virtuozzo is). They have it for both Linux and Windows.

So they do have the end-user/consumer reach with their SOHO virtualization offerings AND do have the cloud (yes I will use the pretty word that everyone likes these days) providers on-board, with 10,000+ of them as active customers. This is something that both Citrix and VMware lack. Sure they may have made their way into the cloud space with things like Desktone and CWS. That is different than having 10,000+ of these under your belt and more than that, that have been using your solution for several years. It is proven. It is robust. AND customers like it. This by itself is something not all Citrix and VMware customers say about their solutions after having buying and deployed their products. Not saying they are bad products. Just saying there is a lot of very unhappy Citrix/VMware customers out there, for one reason or another. And please do not tell me you cannot please everyone. You and I know this goes way beyond that.

Now Parallels can introduce a product that will allow you to publish individual Windows apps out of RDSH or do the brokering to VDI based desktops potentially running on containers or any other hypervisor as 2X was indeed hypervisor agnostic, all this on the cheap. And they can leverage such robust and proven platform to all their hosting providers very quickly. With some engineering they can actually leverage your OWN PC to a provider out there and allow you to seamlessly connect to the one you have at home or to a much more powerful one (more CPU, more RAM) in the cloud, when you need it. Fully synchronized with your home machine.

That is killer.

I am a huge believer that VDI will only become what Brian and others have been predicting (and failing year after year) when it becomes a consumer product. Something end-users will want and use it. And not the niche thing it is today. Yes, no matter what you say your 10,000 VDI deployment is a niche compared to the 130,000,000 physical desktops shipped last year alone. I wrote about that years ago, here.

If there is one company now that can pull this off, under the radar, while Citrix and VMware fight their battles for niche VDI supremacy, is Parallels.

Time will tell if I was right or wrong. Of course a lot here will depend on what Parallels and Jack Zubarev do with 2X. But knowing they like a good fight and do love to innovate I do not expect anything less than a great outcome from this acquisition.

CR

2,747 total views, 2 views today

Nirvana Phone. Is the Motorola Atrix the answer?

Today Motorola announced their new flagship phone, the Motorola Atrix. Citrix right after announced they are shipping the Citrix Receiver on this device and Chris Fleck also blogged about this phone as being the first true ‘Nirvana Phone’, a term they coined years ago for a phone that one day would be the perfect replacement for the road warriors out there.

As this info was under NDA, before the announcement I was discussing which phone this would be (as none of the CTPs had that information) and I mentioned before the announcement that I was certain it was the Atrix, what was later confirmed. 🙂

So here is my take on the Atrix and on the whole Nirvana phone concept and how I see this working one day.

First it will take more than manufacturers to make this idea work. The goal is to have a phone and from that be able to do almost everything you need during the day. Sure people have different needs and for that reason no phone will ever be the silver bullet that will work for every single person out there.

Secondly, if I need to carry ANYTHING, it defeats the purpose IMHO. For example, as of today even with the Atrix, you will need to travel with a bluetooth keyboard (and potentially a mouse), a dock, cables to hook this up to a TV/Monitor and so on. Well if that is the case I will carry my DAMN LAPTOP!

Of course if hotels for example would start offering bluetooth keyboards/mice combos even for a small rental fee per day, that would help a LOT this idea. I personally would pay US$ 4 a day for this. After all, the target market for this is probably someone that is always on the road on business so US$ 4 a day extra on expenses will not create another breakdown of the US economy. Even with the hotels jumping into this idea, unless they also provide docks and cables you would still need to carry something.

That brings us to Apple and their iOS. Not many people dug into AirPlay and what this could mean for this concept. If Apple opens up AirPlay to third parties AND work with other manufacturers to embed this into TVs, Monitors, Receivers, etc this would make an iOS device the true Nirvana thing. Just being able to walk into a hotel room and from your pocket send the video-out of the Citrix Receiver to the TV and wirelessly use a keyboard/mouse would be much better than having a dock and cables, even hotel provided ones (what I do think would help a lot this ‘Nirvana Phone’  concept). An iPad in this case would be the perfect thing to carry as it has a large enough screen for the local apps and processing power to run some very decent ones (what would mean companies writing iOS apps that tie into their backend systems/databases) when offline and when in a hotel room, use the Citrix Receiver/AirPlay to really shine as a Thin Client.

Regarding the Atrix, I still think it suffers from the same issues as any other Android device: giving the power back to the carriers. As an example, the Android device I have, bought 18 months ago from our loved carrier in Canada, Robbers (ok, it is Rogers), came with Android 1.6 and the freaking bastards over there refuse to release ANY updates for this particular phone. So once I rooted the damn thing and loaded Android 2.2, things got better. But this is NOT supported by the carrier and more than that, it is not really something you would give to most users to do. That is the main reason why I think Android sucks.

Add to that the fragmentation now created by Motorola, LG, Sony, Samsung and so on where an Android application that runs on a device like the Atrix will not work the same way on an HTC phone with their ‘Sense’ interface. In that respect, controlling the OS proved to be the right thing to do, at least from taking the power off the carriers and giving it back to the users. At the end it is up to me to decide if I do want to run the latest and greatest OS on the device I BOUGHT, not to the carrier. Their answer to that is ‘just buy the new model and get into another three year contract with us’. Sure, they want to milk the cow. Yes, you are the cow.

For the Apple bashers/haters out there, I do accept the fact my old iPhone 2G cannot run iOS 4. It is the same reason why your Pentium MMX laptop cannot run Windows 7. This market is used to that. But not intentionally preventing your Intel i5 machine from running Windows 7 just because it shipped with Windows XP.

So back to the whole Nirvana phone topic and resuming: I like the idea but I do think the Atrix is far from being the ‘One’ (hint to Motorola – name the next one Motorola ‘Neo’) and without help from other businesses like hotels, there will always be a drawback for this concept to really take off. And finally in my mind Apple is the one that can pull this off, given the traction iTunes will bring to AirPlay enabled devices like TVs and Monitors, really making things easier and better for us consumers.

I guess time to start a keyboard/mouse rental business that will partner with someone like Hilton…

CR

1,589 total views, no views today

VMWare and Citrix: please stop the BS.

Now that VMWorld is over, first of all I must thank God and Jesus Christ it is indeed over. The amount of crap I have seen posted on Twitter thanks to VMWorld was simply amazing. Of course it was not all terrible stuff. There were some nice things to be seen like the vSphere client on the iPad. Seriously, great stuff.

Also, I must, one more time, say that I have nothing against VMWare (or Teradici for that matter – some see me as the Anti-Christ for all PCoverIP related things, what I am certainly not). I still think they have some GREAT products and some GREAT technologies and more than that, I do run my company on top of their server virtualization platform for the simple fact I still think it is the best one out there as of today.

My gripe with both VMWare and Teradici is very simple. They distort certain definitions to make their products and/or technologies look good in all scenarios and as any smart person knows, especially on IT, there is no silver bullet. So there is no solution that can work perfectly in all scenarios. As I work mostly with Remote Display protocols of course that is what I am most interested about any VDI solution out there and how these perform on our new, always connected, world (remember, the WAN is the new LAN). And in this particular area Teradici and VMWare are usually full of bull (FoB). What I really dislike.

Back to the topic, Citrix as well is at fault here, not really helping the industry by throwing more shit at the fan. I do like them (and also give them shit when deserved – just read my posts about my XenDesktop issues in the past and also about the Citrix Receiver for the iPad/iPhone – gimmicky and for many customers I have, useless) and do like a lot of people that work there but I do think this week, Harry’s post was really not needed and simply stirred the shitty pot a little bit more. The same goes for Simon Crosby and his terrible YouTube video. People in this kind of position should be more classy when posting. Even when throwing shit at the fan (what can indeed be done in a classy, polite way).

Sure VMWare is no angel either. The abstract for that session they had at VMWorld (the one I posted a picture on Twitter, PA9449, was simply low. I mean very low). I have no clue what their marketing shitheads were thinking about posting things like ‘how to set RFP/POC traps for Microsoft and Citrix that will make it impossible for them to win the deal’. If they were in Canada I would definitely sue their asses big time.

The bottom line is this: both companies are wasting useful resources and time just bullshitting each other. Instead of getting together and coming up with something the whole community can benefit from (like a common framework for load/performance testing of their VDI platforms, preferably using third party tools like Login VSI, WANEmu and so on) and discuss the issues, again, with the community, so we all learn what is great and not so great with their products and technologies. One more time, please stop the BS.

I am certain not only myself but several other people are indeed getting tired of this crap. So please do something to stop this.

And for everyone else, please no fanboyism either. Be grown up enough to admit VMWare View is not perfect and in certain scenarios it may be crap and make no sense whatsoever. Same goes for XenDesktop. Each one has its own merits, benefits and drawbacks. And we all know that.

No more bull please.

CR

3,341 total views, 1 views today

Intel buys McAfee. Does it matter?

As you all have heard today, Intel bought McAfee. And will pay well for it.
So the question now, at least from my end, is how this can possibly affect or help the virtualization market, the one you and I live and breath on.
First of all, we all know for VDI to take off as a mainstream solution (what it is NOT at this day in 2010 – and will not be for a long time) it must get cheaper. By cheaper it means being able to cram more instances per server. This can be achieved in several ways like using the latest, greatest and fastest CPUs you can get and with as many cores as possible (and of course using quick ass disk subsystems like Fusion-io, caching/dedup like iLIO, using tons of RAM, etc).

The point is on the CPU space there is nothing that prevents other vendors like AMD to get to the level Intel is at. In many cases in the past AMD actually delivered better silicon than Intel. So Intel needs a way to differentiate itself from their competitors. Bringing stuff like AV closer to the HW is one way of doing this. Good for Intel.

And of course getting this OUT of the VMs will for sure increase scalability. That was the reason why McAfee and others were coming up with appliances and lightweight agents (to run on the VM) to offload all that work outside the virtual environment.

The main question now is really how Intel will pull this off by not being a software company really. How they will get McAfee going. Of course I think it is just way too soon for any analyst to say anything about this. Historically Intel has not managed acquisitions like this well but they were never on such scale and with such reach like McAfee has (good or bad, they do have customers and a name in the industry, especially since that .DAT file fiasco that screwed up more computers in a day than any virus they were trying to protect).

In the near future I do not expect to see anything embedded at the HW level. This is for sure something that will come way down the road as you need to come up with something that can be leveraged to anything running on top of that HW. This means you either change the OS that will be running to benefit from these new HW extensions (like vendors did when using the virtualization components exposed by Intel and AMD on their CPUs) or, in this particular AV case, you get an agent running on the OS/VM. Not an easy task to do considering the amount of hypervisors and OSs now available.

That leads us to a very important thing. To minimize this and make things much easier, would not make sense for Intel to grab a Hypervisor vendor now? Given the three main players on this space now, VMWare, Microsoft and Citrix, I am sure the low hanging fruit here is Citrix and I even wrote about this ages ago on the post ‘Intel buys Citrix’

This would give Intel a huge advantage over any other company in the Virtual Wintel echosystem. Controlling the CPU, the Hypervisor that runs on it and extra features like AV, would give you the ultimate virtualization platform, where your solution runs better or has more features than anyone else. Example? All the HW fancy features are only exposed to your own hypervisor (like Microsoft is doing with RemoteFX, only available to Hyper-V hosts) and of course your hypervisor will scale much better than the competitors as you own and know it all about the underlying HW platform. Then the next logical step would be to acquire a graphics company like NVidia (as AMD owns ATI) and leverage all that into the platform, exposing it to the virtualization layer. Then, buy a good storage vendor and a management/layering one and they are all set.

Sure such scenario could potentially bring a lot of issues to Intel from a legal perspective, as it did to Microsoft when it became what it is today. But certainly it would simplify the virtualization market a lot (and yes, I know, locking everyone into their platform – what may not be a terrible thing as Apple has shown the sceptics with their iOS echosystem).

The bottom line is this acquisition for sure will help the virtualization space in the long run (do not expect mystical benefits happening overnight with this acquisition) but I see it as just the tip of the iceberg of what is potentially coming down the road from them.

Feds, you better keep an eye on Intel.

CR

935 total views, 2 views today

LAN only protocols for VDI. DOA?

As promised (I know, late) here are my thoughts on the topic.

It all started when Brian posted on twitter that he was testing RemoteFX with Gabe and I replied saying they should test it with loss. He replied pretty much implying ‘are you nuts? MS is saying RemoteFX is LAN only’ to what I replied ‘WAN is the new LAN so you should test it with loss’.

The reason I mentioned RemoteFX is simple and we must go back a couple years (maybe a decade) to understand what I mean and why I do think ‘LAN only protocols for VDI are Dead on Arrival’.

If you remember (and I clear remember this, back in 2003/2004 when I was working in Japan, accessing my machine over a dial-up connection) years ago all many people had was a dial-up connection to the internet. Things were ‘slow’ at the time and everyone wished they had a much faster connection one day. The idea of having a 1MBit connection, only for you and at home or in a hotel was simply a dream. Everyone though when that day came, all our needs would be solved.

So fast forward a couple years and now, if you are cheap, you are probably using some ‘high-speed lite’ plan from your ISP that is almost certain, at least 1Mbit down/256kbps up. Considering all you had years ago, this should be great, more than you need.

As we both know, this is not the case. Your 1MBit connection is slow. Freaking slow. How come? Well as we can easily see, with more available bandwidth comes all sorts of new technologies like movie streaming, P2P file sharing, rich multimedia experience (from websites, from VDI hosted desktops and so on), etc. The list goes on.

That shows us clearly, no matter how much bandwidth you get in the next couple years, technology will find a way to use it. Either because you will be downloading BluRay2 movies (at 500GB each) or because you need your USB 4.0 WebCam running at 3840×2160 resolution, when connected to your XenDesktop 7.0 hosted desktop (running Windows 9 with 64GB RAM and 32 vCPUs – note it will still boot Office 2015 as fast as a Windows 98 with Office 97 – see Claudio’s Law).

And as we get more and more connected I can only see ‘remote’ workers growing. People that want to work from home, from anywhere and also companies that will start to reduce their office space (that is costly if you do not realize) by giving users what they need at home or anywhere they decide to work from.

That leads us to what I posted on Twitter. The WAN will become the new LAN.

If that is the case if more and more work is shifted to the outside (your home, your cottage, a hotel, etc) are LAN only protocols for SBC/VDI dead?

I do understand that as of today the ratio of users working in a LAN connected desktop and on a WAN connected one is probably 20:1 if not more. But again, is this what the future holds? Will we ever see a shift on this that may bring this down to 2:1 maybe? And if that happens, what future a LAN only protocol has? Type-1/Type-2 hypervisor solutions may alleviate this but again, there may be cases where I do want to work ‘connected’ to my hosted desktop and not from a locally cached copy (i.e. what if I can assign 64GB RAM/32vCPUs to my hosted one instead of using 8GB/2vCPUs for my locally cached one? It will for sure be MUCH faster for several tasks and a reason for me not to use the cached one).

My take on this is, for now, RemoteFX and any other LAN only solutions will do it and will of course help the adoption of a VDI model on the LAN. But as we shift towards an always connected model, if anyone tries to sell their stuff as ‘Good on LAN only’, that will become an issue.

So Microsoft and Citrix, make sure you keep in mind WAN is the new LAN and that whatever crap you develop or acquire in the future has a future on the WAN.

WAN is king.

CR

1,700 total views, no views today

PCoIP performance over lossy networks.

This week as you guys know, I spent quite a lot of time at Citrix Synergy 2010 in San Francisco and during that time we were able to extensively test how all major remote display protocols work over the real world WAN and in a certain way, what we saw simply validated what I was expecting to see.

First of all, let me define real world WAN and explain how we actually know what this is. If you are not familiar with our technology, IPQ, it is a packet loss reduction mechanism that works between two end points. As we adapt according to the network conditions, we must know at any given time what these are. That is the reason why our endpoints exchange a beacon at all times. This gives us over 25 stats that we use to determine the most effective way to deal with packet loss in real time.

Of course all that information gets stored and we can plot what we are seeing right within our web interface. And guess what? During this week we spent in San Francisco, doing our demos from a hotel room using the provided internet connection – the exact same one all of you had in your rooms – we have seen packet loss at all times. How much? From 1% all the way to 15% (burst loss). The bottom line here is simple: loss is guaranteed out there and it is MUCH higher than the 0.5% loss that Brian and Gabe used on their WAN simulator during the VDI Geek Week shootout. That is the reason why ICA, RDP and PCoIP performed relatively well on their ‘WAN’. In the real world, with unpredictable conditions, performance is not really like that. I am not saying that loss will be high and will be there at all times. I am just saying loss will get you several times during the day. When and how much that will be no one knows. But it will be there. For sure.

So back to the topic, how well does PCoIP perform over the real world WAN? Not that well as expected. And here is the living proof of that. Notice how much better PCoIP gets when IPQ is brought to the picture. It gets almost as good as ICA (in case you did not see our tests with ICA, go here).

No matter what VMWare and Teradici tells you, TCP with its retransmission techniques, in this particular type of connection (PPTP VPN), DOES perform much, MUCH better than PCoIP. Just watch the two videos for yourself (the PCoIP is also available in high definition 720p). At 3% loss ICA simply smokes PCoIP (that without our technology is virtually unusable – again, over PPTP. LT2P may change things, making PCoIP closer to ICA over the WAN). The game changes completely when IPQ is on. ICA improves for sure (again, watch the videos) but PCoIP at that point really shines. The improvement is brutal, huge. At the end we turn something that is really unusable over the lossy WAN into something people can actually use. It is that much of an improvement.

In case you want the direct YouTube links, here you have them:

ICA: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yw5lBk-bdv8
PCoIP: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXpbawlg90Y

The bottom line is simple. All current implementations for remote display technologies do suffer over the real world WAN. The idea of our technology is to work as ‘Network Insurance’ for your connection. If the conditions are good we know that thanks to our beacon exchange and at that stage we simply turn ourselves off. But when loss comes, we are there to protect you. Exactly like your insurance company. You have it and hope not to use it. Ever. But when you need it, you know it is there and that you can count on it.

That is what we are. Network Insurance for you and your users.

CR

3,244 total views, 2 views today

ICA behavior on lossy networks.

I guess a picture is worth a thousand words. So what about a video?

Yesterday here at Citrix Synergy 2010 I had the time to record a quick video that shows how ICA, normally a very robust protocol for the WAN, suffers from packet loss. Before you go ahead and say the conditions of the test are not really ‘real world’ all I can tell you (and I can show it in person if you want) is the loss I have seen yesterday over the connection provided by the Marriot Hotel in San Francisco spiked during certain moments to more than 15-20%. So on the real world you will face packet loss at one degree or another. Guaranteed it WILL be there.

This quick test (runs for 6 minutes) shows a XenApp 6 server running on Windows Server 2008 R2 with no load whatsoever. We injected a 3% loss but again, were able to see huge spikes on it (remember, our solution, hardware or software based, sends a beacon between both ends all the time to determine how network conditions are at any given time and adjusts how mildly/heavily we do our magic and with all this data we can plot what is going on over the link in real time).

The results? Well see for yourself. My take on this is XenDesktop/XenApp do suffer. Period. In certain cases your users would experience serious lags when typing, very choppy video/audio and so on. Unusable? I would not go that far. Fixable? Yes as the video clearly shows. And also keep in mind this was all done over a hotel internet connection (the type you get on your room) in a conference where probably every single person IS using the hotel link AND this was done on a XenApp 6 box running in Ottawa, Canada, a couple miles from San Francisco (probably around 3,000 miles).

If you want to understand how we do this (remember, we are a layer 2 solution so we fix ICA, RDP, PCoIP, etc – we do not care what you run; we fix it) feel free to stop me at Citrix Synergy for a chat or just follow me on Twitter (crod).

Bottom line: even though these protocols do have their mechanisms to cope with packet loss, ICA, the king of the kings in the VDI world IMHO, does suffer. If it does, I can only imagine PCoIP will suffer even more (and RDP too). Oh we have tested them.

Yes, they suck.

2,034 total views, no views today

Is VMWare View really easier?

Sorry Brian and Gabe but I must disagree about this. In the past two weeks we have been working on getting our demo environment up and running (so you can all see what exactly packet loss does with VDI/SBC) and we will be showing it live at Synergy to interested parties, in our suite at the Marriot.

As I still think overcommitment when properly used is a powerful feature to have and the fact that XenServer 5.6 is in beta, we setup our virtualization backend with VMWare ESXi and I still must say I really like it. I did not have much exposure to XenServer and Hyper-V so I cannot comment how they compare to ESXi but again, for what we need ESXi does the job beautifully and it is indeed pretty straight forward to get going.

So back to the VDI part, we asked one of our technical guys to setup XenDesktop and VMWare View, based on the ‘instructions’ I gave him (basically download the ISOs and follow the guides) and off he went.

As I do have my own XenDesktop environment at home (on ESXi as you remember from the saga I reported here) I was very familiar with it and do remember having no issues installing it and more than that, being extremely easy and simple to do. Keep in mind this is the free 10-user version so there is no Provisioning Server, etc.

Today I sat down with Matt (our techie) to go through the environment and to wrap it up by setting up a 2008 R2 RDS SH with XenApp 6. As we have been exchanging emails to get VMWare View going, I knew it was not being that breeze Gabe/Brian mentioned. So after checking what we had to go through, I have no idea why they mentioned VMWare View being ‘easier’ to setup. IMHO (and in Matt’s opinion as well) XenDesktop 4 is much, we mean, MUCH easier to setup. VMWare View is confusing to say the least, even for someone very used to a single ESXi server environment.

How are they affected by packet loss? Well that is what I am working on right now. The same way Ruben wrote the ‘VDI Storage Deep Impact’  I am working on getting the real facts on how latency/loss affect ICA, RDP and PCoIP. No marketing BS, just straight facts. As soon as the whitepaper is ready it will be posted here for sure.

Resuming this post: we found XenDesktop 4 much easier to setup for SMALL ENVIRONMENTS (what means Provisioning Services/View Composer are NOT in use, that you do not have a VMWare Guru/Employee sitting on your side, etc). Does it mean Brian/Gabe are wrong and we are right? No. It means you should take any comments, from anyone, Brian and myself included, with a grain of salt. Do not trust us gentlemen. 🙂 Go try them for yourself and let us know what you think.

As you can see I do like VMWare and do think they have a great virtualization platform (main reason to have ESX/ESXi all over the companies I manage/own/work for) but View is far from being a breeze to setup.

CR

49,755 total views, no views today

XenDesktop 4 on ESXi. Final chapter on this saga.

As you guys do remember, a while ago I posted about my experience on trying to get Citrix XenDesktop 4 working on my VMWare ESXi environment. You can read the post that started this soap opera here and an update on what happened next here.

First of all I must say that post started quite a discussion and more than that, it is the #1 search that is now leading readers to my blog, especially because most people think that as a Citrix CTP, I am not supposed to post things like that.

It is quite the opposite actually. Of course when I started that thread, Citrix immediately contacted me but not really because I did it. They contacted me to understand how they failed on not supporting me or not getting me answers for all the issues I had at the time and promptly started working with me very closely to get that environment up and running. And in the end I must say, it DOES work and DOES work as expected.

The outcome from this post that started it all is this: Citrix today announced they are OFFICIALLYsupporting VMWare ESXi as a host solution for their Citrix XenDesktop product! You can read their official statement here: CTX124952.

Of course there are certain features regarding the integration with the Hypervisor that will not work (Pool and Power Management ones). For a small environment, with let’s say 5 to 10 users in a company, this is in my opinion, great news. It is an easy way to dip your toes into the VDI world at pretty much no cost. Build a small server running ESXi (free, or use the paid version that is on sale at $495 until June, 15th I think) and create your XP/Windows 7 VMs on it for your users. Again, for a small shop I do see this as a great solution. Pretty much all you need is there, including a Web Interface, Gateway, etc. Unbelievable value at no cost. And if down the road you do feel you need the features available on the paid versions, it is not hard at all to upgrade.

And technically, what fixed the issues I was having is all that is described on the second post on this thread ANDa ‘power’ setting on Windows 7. Apparently by default it will go into ‘Standby’ after a couple minutes. Once I changed all power settings not to turn anything off at all ever, the problem was resolved. I can now consistently logon to the Web Interface and get to my XenDesktop 4 Desktop.

So resuming: XenDesktop 4 DOESwork with VMWare ESXi ANDit is now fully supported by Citrix, thanks to your friendly neighbor CTP here. 🙂

By the way, it works beautifully.

CR

2,010 total views, no views today

RemoteFX, PCoIP, ICA in a WAN world.

Last week as you all know Microsoft announced RemoteFX, the name for all the work/technologies they acquired from Calista a couple years ago (amazing how long it took them to get here. Subject for another post). All nice and great for VDI and I am certain, with the licensing changes announced as well, it will help the industry moving forward towards the adoption of such model in a larger scale.

The main problem now is simple. As Shawn Bass mentioned on Twitter, ‘WAN is King’. And that is definitely true. With the rise of mobility, either on mobile devices like the iPhone/iPad or on full blown PCs connected through 3G cards, several companies do rely on these to connect back to corporate and more than that, are willing to expand such option for an ‘always connected’ solution. The problem is, once you hit the 3G/EVDO data network, latency and packet loss will be there. Guaranteed.

The end result is a much worse experience over the WAN, no matter what kind of magic Citrix, Microsoft or VMWare have as of today. Throw Riverbed and all other products like that to the mix too. They do help. But again, once packet loss/latency is there, they are also in bad shape.

That is where we come to the picture.

After years of development, we now have a hardware (appliance) or software solution (driver) that you can mix (HW-HW or HW-SW or of course, SW-SW) that drastically reduces packet loss (typically to 1/10 of what you had before using us – so to 0.5% if you had 5% loss before) and makes life on the WAN much easier for all the things mentioned on the title of this post.

The good news is this is a mature technology that we developed and that has been in use by some large people out there (no names at this point) for other things (video conferencing mostly) with impressive results. But once we realized how much we could do for SBC/VDI, after testing it internally, we decided to take it to the public, to validate and prove the results we have seen with RDP, ICA, PCoIP and other things. So our BETA program is officially open as of today.

If you are interested on testing our solution, all I ask is you to email us at BETA at IPeakNetworks dot com and of course let us know about your environment so we can assist you on how to get the most out of it. And yes, I do ask you to provide honest feedback. What you have seen before and after. Good or bad. We are here to listen.

For now we do not have our SW solution ready for all platforms but it is in the works (it is Win32/Linux for now) and the HW one we should have available as virtual appliances for all major virtualization solutions (VMWare ESX, XenServer and Hyper-V) shortly.

I do think the VDI battle will be decided on the WAN. Vendors, no matter which one, do realize that but may not want to say it, especially if whatever protocol they have sucks on the WAN. Again, with high speed wireless available everywhere it is just natural that more and more employees will be indeed connected to their desktop/session over a wireless connection. So the WAN is the battle ground. Period. 

We are the ammunition.

CR

11,617 total views, no views today