From the sideline comments dept. Just before xmas Brian shares his view on what’s important for vendors in relation to Desktop Virtualization. I’m not going to recap his article in total, you can read it here. What I wanted to comment on specifically, is that it’s really nice to have been working with a vendor for 11+ years now, who all along has been doing what the good Dr. Madden orders today! :-) While we originally back in the late ’90s started out being a product only for Terminal Services/Citrix environments, RES products were kept in tune with the times and trends to embrace all windows platforms: Workstations, Laptops and Server Based Computing – what I referred to as tri-platform support back in the day.
With the emergence of virtualization, first on hardware, then later on applications, it was possible for RES to add 3 more innovative dimensions to that picture:
- Early VDI Workspace support: RES Software actually didn’t have to change much, if anything in the Workspace Manager (back in the day known as PowerFuse) to support VDI. As the Workspace Composer runs inside the user’s session, seen from a technical perspective of the product, it’s running on a workstation OS, which just happens to be accessed as a terminal server through RDP, HDX or whatever. In other words, all the goodness which Workspace Manager offered already for Laptops, Physical workstations and Terminal servers, was available for VDI from day one.
- First App-V integration: RES was TRUTHFULLY, THE VERY FIRST VENDOR who worked proactively with the Grand-Daddy of all application virtualization technologies, SoftGrid by Softricity – now known as App-V by Microsoft. Since then, we’ve adapted to support pretty much every major App Virtualization platform out there. Application virtualization is an important piece of VDI as it will allow you to have more apps to co-exist in the same image. Using the workspace manager to differentiate access to these apps, you can litterally cut down your VDI configuration to one golden image per operating system. Look out for an article on this topic later.
- First Reverse Seamless provider: Back in the day, RES had this little – relatively un-noticed – sidecar utility to the Workspace Manager, known as the RES Subscriber aka Workspace Extender. These were the first implementations of Reverse Seamless Windows. Few people saw the potential early on, but I’d like to highlight a specific video, made by my former colleague Rick Eilenberger, that demonstrates what it was able to do already then in 2007. It was known as the RES Subscriber. The technology later licensed by Citrix, evolved to a stand-alone product, known as VDX. For more information on VDX, go read here.
The only thing we’ve left alone in regards to virtualization, is so called ‘User Virtualization’. This is some sort of horn which the Usual Suspects likes to blow (and do I mean blow… ;-) To my experience, the concept of virtualizing the user makes no sense at all. The user is the only real “object” in the entire getup anyway. Sure, hardware is quite real too, however unlike the behavior of users, it’s behavior is way more predictable, hence virtualizing it is relatively easy in comparison. This is one of the reasons why I believe the idea of redirecting the profile to a database is a flawed concept to begin with. You want as fast and reliable access to your settings to your settings as well as your documents to cater for the user’s sometimes erratic behavior. This is why the RES Workspace Manager was built with purpose to store User Settings in the same manner as User Data is stored; in a location which is unique and readily accessible to the user.
With the ever-growing adaptation of Cloud Computing into the Enterprise space, the profile game is a-changing. Boatloads of other pundits have been describing in vivid detail how users will demand access to their settings virtually anywhere. One way of dealing with this is to provide ACCESS from anywhere to a centralized solution. Citrix have been doing this for well over 20 years. Thing can however quickly become harrowing if changes the user makes should follow them between different infrastructures (different server farms, operating systems or even different laptops). This is where an intelligent and granular approach to handling user settings is required. If you are contemplating storing your settings only in a standard SQL database – or on a fileserver for that matter you are asking for trouble, or at the very least unnecessary complexity. I’ve discussed this previously in this article.
Anyway, while the usual suspects are duking it out on the commentary section over on BM, RES Software is ready to take on the new year. Stay tuned to this blog for even more tidbits and useful info in 2012! Happy new year everybody.