Who's missing what? A checklist of what each vendor needs to get to VDI+ by 2010. - Brian Madden - BrianMadden.com
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Who's missing what? A checklist of what each vendor needs to get to VDI+ by 2010.

Written on Jul 03 2008
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12,235 views, 63 comments

by Brian Madden

Last week I wrote about the four technical capabilities that needed to evolve in order for VDI to become mainstream. Since that article came out, I've started informally calling this "VDI+." So "VDI" is today's SBC-based VDI, and "VDI+" is tomorrow's VDI that blends SBC, local, offline, user customization, etc.

I spent last week on a small speaking tour in Europe, and I was asked by 100 different people about which VDI vendor I thought would get to VDI+ first, and which vendor people should buy today?

This is a complex question and the full answer requires its own article, but in order to begin to build an answer, you have to know which vendors offer which capabilities. To that end, I threw together a quick chart showing the six major players in this space and which of them offer which capabilities.

At this time I think there are eight capabilities needed to offer an end-to-end VDI+ solution: (Am I missing anything?)

  • Connection broker. This is the baseline requirement that's need to connect users into the VDI environment.
  • User environment management. Some kind of way to customize a shared desktop for individual users, above and beyond roaming profiles.
  • Application isolation / streaming. The ability to run applications in a VM without first going through the Windows installation process.
  • Hypervisor management. Turn on, suspend, migrate, provision VMs.
  • A "workstation" hypervisor / VMM. Some capability to run a VDI VM locally on a client device.
  • Ability to use one disk image for multiple users. We're talking about sharing the same master image--not cloning.
  • A remoting protocol with 100% app compatibility. The protocol must not just support some multimedia--it needs to support everything: 3D, high graphics, multimedia, perfect audio, etc. On a fast network it needs to work as if the users don't even know they're working remotely.
  • Single app SBC publishing. Finally, some apps will still be accessed via server-based computing while running on their own hosts. Does this vendor offer this capability?




A few notes about this chart

In some cases, Microsoft provides baseline capability that vendors can ride on top of. (SoftGrid, Calista, etc.) This chart only includes the specific capabilities that a particular vendor brings to the table. It does not represent what a complete solution would look like for a particular vendor.

This chart includes capabilities that vendors have announced publicly, even if they're not shipping them today. (Specifically Scalable Virtual Images from VMware and Calista from Microsoft.)

An analysis of the chart

Looking at this chart, it's very clear where the various holes are for each vendor. Of course this does not answer the larger philosphical question about whether each vendor needs to fill every hole, but it's interesting data for that discussion. A lot of vendors talk about how being "everything for everybody" is not important and they want to give customers "choice." This mainly happens when vendors have glaring holes in their lineups. But as soon as they build / buy something to fill that hole, they completely change their story and talk about how customers want to go to one customer for everything, and that they want "one throat to choke."

As we go through each of these vendors, you could probably use this chart as a template for "VDI Mergers & Acquisitions, 2008-2009."


Citrix is the closest to providing the full stack. Their biggest hole is the lack of capability to run a VDI image locally on a client device. Maybe they'll look to Microsoft for Kidaro? Or maybe they'll buy someone who offers that capability?

Citrix also needs a better protocol. As I've written in the past, ICA is great, and certainly better than RDP, but it's still not perfect.


Microsoft's biggest hole today is the connection broker. Because a connection broker is the "bare minimum" requirement for VDI, you have to wonder about what Microsoft is planning here. Can they really be content forcing everyone to go to a third party, even for the most basic use cases?

I think we would all love for Microsoft to fix the user environment problem too, although since they haven't addressed this in the past ten years, I wouldn't hold my breath.


VMware is doing really well on the infrastructure side of things. Now they just need to focus on the users and apps. They started down this path earlier this year by buying Thinstall. This shows their thinking is in the right place, but they probably need to buy someone who can deliver single apps to fill out the offering. (Is it too late to buy Quest? Can they buy Ericom?)

They really need something in the protocol space (although they licensed Wyse TCX for their VDI product, so they're getting closer). Maybe VMware's long term solution is just not to use a remote protocol? That's a nice concept, but there will always be use cases for some apps where it just makes more sense to deliver them via SBC.

Ericom & Quest

When I talk about this space, I usually lump Ericom and Quest together because they are so similar. They can both manage a ton of different hypervisors. They both offer a connection broker, good load balancing, a web interface, and seamless application publishing from terminal server or Windows XP / Vista VDI instances. Both companies' products offer capabilities similar to the combined capabilities of Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop, although the Ericom and Quest solutions are about 20% of the price of Citrix.

Quest might end up with the long-term edge against Citrix, because Quest's VDI product is via their Provision Networks division, which they bought last year. It remains to be seen, however, whether Quest will be able to integrate their other products into their VDI solution.


Qumranet is still new to this space, but seeing as they have a shipping product, a perfect remote protocol that no one else can touch, and they were started by XenSource co-founder Moshe Bar, they're definitely worth paying attention too.


Our Books


Guest wrote its quest for me!
on Thu, Jul 3 2008 8:29 AM Link To This Comment

Another terrific article Brian. For what its worth, I would argue that its not enough just to fill a hole, you need to fill it well. Yes, Citrix has application streaming, but is it any good? Yes, they have ICA, but as I understand it, their connection broker doesn't use full-blown ICA rather a version with some of the key functionality removed. Yes, they have single app SBC publishing but it doesn't integrate with their connection broker. From my experience, Citrix claim to do a lot of things, its just that others do it better. So yes, customers can fill all the holes with a combination of Citrix and Microsoft, but will they fill them as well as with a combination of Quest, Microsoft and VMware? If a solution does not provide everything, the next best thing is that it integrates nicely with other vendors products such as VirtualCenter and Softgrid. Then you have to take into account a company's reputation for innovation, reliability and ease of use. Again, Citrix doesn't score well on this front given the snail's pace development of Metaframe/Presentation Server/ XenApp (the name seems to change faster than the product!). Also, could it not be argued that you are simplifying the question by restricting it to 8 categories. Quest's official broker comparison chart compares ProvNet with Citrix and VMware in 130 different categories. My state of mind at the moment is, Vmware have the best server virtualisation platform, Thinapp has the edge over Softgrid and Quest have the most feature rich-connection broker which integrates nicely with VirtualCenter and costs less than XenDesktop. Its Quest for me! (and no, I don't work for them!)

Guest wrote A nice analysis of the *current* product landscape, but...
on Thu, Jul 3 2008 9:00 AM Link To This Comment

I think this is a nice analysis of the current product landscape and shows some of the gaps that existing players have in their VDI offerings.  However, it doesn't consider that, as more organizations experiment with VDI, new challenges will arise and, subsequently, new product needs will emerge.  Some might be addressed by evolutions within existing products; others might require new technologies that, obviously, are not on the chart.  Plus, some of the technology areas mentioned, such as the hypervisor-related ones, might be non-issues due to growing commoditization and ubiquity.  For example, rather than provide their own tool for hypervisor management, vendors can rely on System Center.

So, in other words, by 2010, I think this chart might include more--or at least different--technology areas than the 8 listed.


Guest wrote Remoting protocol
on Thu, Jul 3 2008 9:17 AM Link To This Comment
What confuses me about the post is you don't have Citrix with a remoting protocol but you do Microsoft. Then in the text of Citrix you say ICA is better than RDP.  Care to elaborate?
Nick Fields wrote Re: its quest for me!
on Thu, Jul 3 2008 9:22 AM Link To This Comment
Agreed, I do feel like Citrix is closest to putting a check mark in all the categories Brian mentioned, but I feel like VMware is doing a better job in the categories they've checked off.  In particular, I think the remote protocol is the biggest hurdle for almost everyone on the list.  Again, for most things RDP and ICA do well, but I know there are things I can't do, and it's a barrier...
Shawn Bass wrote Some thoughts
on Thu, Jul 3 2008 10:00 AM Link To This Comment
I think to be fair to all vendors involved the "Better remote protocol" needs to be more specific.  Sure Callista might be cool technology, but it's far from shipping product.  Other vendors like Qumranet have a great protocol (as long as you've got a 100MB ethernet connection to the server).  ICA has a lot of great features, but as others have alluded to it's missing key features like SpeedFlash and RAVE features.  So perhaps the "Better remote protocol" needs to be split into subcategories based on LAN/WAN and then also which specific categories they assist with (Bitmap acceleration (OpenGL/Direct3D), Flash Acceleration, Multimedia redirection, Multimedia tossing/compression, Image compression, etc).  I know that makes it really complicated, but I don't think it's a fair comparison otherwise to just have one big checkbox.  Citrix does some things really well for remoting things and yet there's still areas they lose other to other vendors in the remoting protocol space.  It needs to be more granular.  Also, I'd suggest that your checkboxes for Quest need revision in two areas.  One is "better remoting protocol".  Have you seen Patrick Rouse' video on their bitmap remoting?  What about Provisions multimedia redirection?  Both of those are a significant improvement over regular RDP.  Next, Quest does have some tools for user workspace management.  Sure they're no RES, but they are certainly not devoid of the ability to plug user registry values, assign printers, etc.  MetaProfiles-IT is the name of the specific feature.
Shawn Bass wrote Re: Some thoughts
on Thu, Jul 3 2008 10:01 AM Link To This Comment
In my comment above where I reference ICA not having SpeedFlash and RAVE, I'm referring to ICA as it ships in XenDesktop today.  ICA in XenApp does obviously have these things.
Guest wrote Re: its quest for me!
on Thu, Jul 3 2008 10:16 AM Link To This Comment
I wonder if you're one of those people that buy something straight from a catalogue instead of going for a testdrive first. Citrix' connection broker not integrating with SBC App publishing?? Have you ever seen a proper XenDesktop demo enviroment? ThinApp has the edge over Softgrid?? Have you ever worked with the products? Citrix not having a good reputation for innovation?? If you define innovation just by the length of time between updates, you completely fail to grasp the concept op "Innovation".
Guest wrote Re: Some thoughts
on Thu, Jul 3 2008 10:21 AM Link To This Comment
Speedscreen Flash optmization is pretty much useless now that SpeedScreen Progressive Display is there, so Flash support not beeing in ICA in XenDesktop is IMHO not something you'd miss. RAVE is apparantly coming in an update later this year, according to a local sales rep, and their Apollo tech will take care of the OpenGL and Direct3d stuff. Ok, that's not there yet, but I saw some pretty cool demo's on Summit last January. I think Citrix is already really close to optimizing ICA for richer media and desktop O/S-es.
Guest wrote Re: Remoting protocol
on Thu, Jul 3 2008 10:23 AM Link To This Comment
I'm pretty sure Brian doesn't mean RDP here, but the technology they acquired in the Callista aquistion. But as it's not a marketable thing yet, it shouldn't be on the list really.
Guest wrote Re: Some thoughts
on Thu, Jul 3 2008 10:27 AM Link To This Comment
Good points, Shawn.  Though maybe the LAN/WAN issues might be addressed best with different technologies: a robust remoting protocol for LANs and some faster WANs, and an offline VM solution for WANs...
Guest wrote One more for Citrix...
on Thu, Jul 3 2008 11:04 AM Link To This Comment

Wouldn't Apollo combined with SpeedScreen Progressive display be considered a "better remote protocol" for addressing performance of 3-D and multimedia. At least by Mr. Madden's standards that column should be checked, "This chart includes capabilities that vendors have announced publicly, even if they're not shipping them today." Am I wrong?

Quest is really losing steam on their acquisition of Provision Networks. They have a lot in store for their future releases, just nobody knows about because they are not announcing them to the public and they are not shipping the new releases on a schedule that can beat or at least match the other vendors. They need to start making news, make it first, and make it in a big way. Or risk being the company that could have, but never did.

Guest wrote maybe Brian hasn't see Quest's kickass RDP improvements
on Thu, Jul 3 2008 11:08 AM Link To This Comment
Guest wrote Re: Some thoughts
on Thu, Jul 3 2008 11:18 AM Link To This Comment

I hope Quest is intergrating their Desktop Authority solution in the Provision solution. Actually, Manage-IT is the name of their component that configures the user environment. MetaProfiles-IT stores registry/file entries across sessions, nothing more, nothing less. Quest's Provision solution, in general, is lacking maturity in some areas that really matter to administrators. Logging, performance monitoring, and reporting. In these areas today what they have is undocumented hacks and secrets, manually intensive, or entire lack of capability. The multimedia improvements, integration of a couple of Quest's other solutions, and improvements in the lacking areas I mentioned will go a long way to making them a leader in the space.

Shawn Bass wrote Re: Some thoughts
on Thu, Jul 3 2008 11:21 AM Link To This Comment
That's exactly my point.  I don't understand why Citrix ICA isn't listed as having a good "Remote Protocol".  Especially if Callista is going to be a checkbox.
Shawn Bass wrote Re: Some thoughts
on Thu, Jul 3 2008 11:23 AM Link To This Comment
Thanks for the clarification on Manage-IT vs Metaprofiles-IT.  My point I was making is that Quest/Provision already has the tools to manage user workspace, so I'm not sure why that column isn't checked.  Especially considering that Citrix has a checkmark there (I'm assuming that's because of their User Profile Manager tool?).  But that tool hasn't shipped yet and only manages profile settings, not all the things tht Manage-IT does.  I'm confused.
Guest wrote Re: Some thoughts
on Thu, Jul 3 2008 11:48 AM Link To This Comment
I would agree with Shawn. If in the chart there was ever a checkbox to be marked at user environment management, it should be with Quest / ProvNet! Their Manage-IT stuff does 80% of what admins need to do in user environment management. However, most of it currently is only available for their Terminal Services add-on. But that is not just it, can you schedule a logoff, deletion of a VM, reboot, disabled logons to vms, file copies, MSI installations or program and script execution with XenDesktop or VMware? I don't think so. OK, so this isn't exactly about user environment management but it is reallife management that needs to take place in VDI environments!
Guest wrote Re: Some thoughts
on Thu, Jul 3 2008 11:57 AM Link To This Comment
You also forgot that Quest owns ScriptLogic :)
Brian Madden wrote Re: Remoting protocol
on Thu, Jul 3 2008 12:00 PM Link To This Comment
Yeah Guest #2 is right. Microsoft is on there due to Calista. I really made this chart to show what moves these vendors have to do to get to VDI+ in 2010. So in that sense, Calista is ok (in my mind) since that's a move that Microsoft already made, but we don't know what the others are planning on doing there yet.
Brian Madden wrote Re: One more for Citrix...
on Thu, Jul 3 2008 12:04 PM Link To This Comment
The problem with Apollo is that it's for physical blades only, not VM-based VDI. So that's my thinking behind not checking it.
Brian Madden wrote Maybe I have and wasn't impressed?
on Thu, Jul 3 2008 12:08 PM Link To This Comment
Well, I shouldn't say that I wasn't impressed, because that's not true. It's just that while this is making great strides, I still don't have 100% app compatibility via SBC.
Guest wrote Maybe I have and wasn't impressed?
on Thu, Jul 3 2008 12:16 PM Link To This Comment

Brian, I am ROFLMAO


Another cowardly vendor

Guest wrote Re: Some thoughts
on Thu, Jul 3 2008 12:28 PM Link To This Comment

Here are some of the Independent Software Vendors that focus on User Environment:

AppSense Environment Manager - provides both network and personal profiles with additional client software needed
Entrigue's Script Start ProfileUnity - provies both network and personal profiles -no additional client software needed
RTO Virtual Profiles - provides only personal profile portability with additional client software needed

Guest wrote Re: Remoting protocol
on Thu, Jul 3 2008 12:36 PM Link To This Comment
so in that vein Brian, since you're looking at vendors have and maybe not shipping yet, you're missing quite a few checks for quest.  They have the entire user environment management stuff on the TS side and are capable of or in the process of porting it to VDI.  They have shown awesome performance improvements for RDP that some are shipping today and others will be.
Guest wrote Maybe I have and wasn't impressed?
on Thu, Jul 3 2008 12:40 PM Link To This Comment
and you do with Calista, Spice or ICA vs PortICA?
Shawn Bass wrote Re: One more for Citrix...
on Thu, Jul 3 2008 2:59 PM Link To This Comment
My understanding of Apollo is that it is an umbrella project for a variety of enhancement technologies around rich graphics and high quality sound.  The Direct3D/OpenGL enhancements do require either a blade or physical PC at the moment because of the requirement for a high end GPU.  However, it's also my understanding that you could leverage virtual GPUs as the virtualization vendors support that.  Apollo also has enhanced audio codecs for better audio over ICA.  Also, who knows whether or not Citrix might be enhancing Apollo to leverage network-based GPUs aka Pictor, etc.  Finally, there's still a number of things in ICA like Speedscreen Browser Acceleration, Speedscreen Multimedia Acceleration, Speedscreen Progressive Display, etc. that make it a good remoting protocol.
Shawn Bass wrote Maybe I have and wasn't impressed?
on Thu, Jul 3 2008 3:04 PM Link To This Comment
I'm confused by this point  The discussion point is around better remoting protocols.  If by remoting we're talking about server-side rendering with improvements in compression and delivery, then I'd say Quest/Provision has done that with their bitmap acceleration.  If you're talking about not render server-side, but somehow doing it client side, then I'd say that Quest/Provision's multimedia redirection handles that side of it as well.  If you're talking about not doing this centralized (which is what I'm assuming you're meaning by SBC, then why is it a discussion point around remoting protocols?  If by good remoting you're referring to Qumranet or Teradici, how do those work when you're running on a DSL connection?  Do they rely on RDP?  If so, then it seems like you might need some protocol enhancements for RDP in order to get acceptable performance for your graphics remoting.
Shawn Bass wrote Re: Some thoughts
on Thu, Jul 3 2008 3:06 PM Link To This Comment
I completely agree with this, however it has to be ubiquitous and it has to work without ANY complication for the end user.  If the end user has to make an intelligent decision on how to run something, they'll screw it up at least 50% of the time.  Show me one VDI vendor that intelligently makes the right decision based on the network transport and provides a best-of-breed remoting solution regardless of the connectivity?
Guest wrote Re: Some thoughts
on Thu, Jul 3 2008 3:46 PM Link To This Comment

Heh, intelligent VDI...I like it.  You're right: there isn't one today.  But, in your opinion, who do you think has the most compelling offering to date or is closest to providing that type of solution? 

I think in this nascent VDI market, you must temper hype and excitement with rationalism.  You must be upfront about your goals and realistic with your expectations.  If you don't do it now, the law of dimishing returns will kick in and force you to re-evaluate your situation.  If you're spending substantially more money or substantially more time managing VMs then you were with traditional desktops, something's gone awry. 

Though we can all agree that these are exciting times and the technology is undoubtedly some cool stuff, the reality is that some situations might best be addressed using tried-and-true XenApp-based SBC or traditional desktops with app streaming.  And those technologies are improving as well.


Shawn Bass wrote Re: Some thoughts
on Thu, Jul 3 2008 3:59 PM Link To This Comment

In my opinion there isn't a single vendor that exists in the VDI/hosted desktop space that has all of the issues nailed for wholesale VDI.  I discussed a number of the reasons why I think this is a case in my session at Citrix Synergy.  I'm currently working on a blog entry that I'll follow up with several others on what the specific limitations are with VDI/hosted desktops.

As far as I'm concerned, there's not much point in arguing who's closest, because at the end of the day I still can't use any single vendor to complete my implementation.  Close only counts in horseshows and hand grenades.  Right now, you're stuck getting some stuff from one vendor and then needing to bolt on a bunch of other third party add-ons.  But then again, that isn't all that different from what we're all use to in the SBC space anyway. ;) 


Shawn Bass wrote Re: Some thoughts
on Thu, Jul 3 2008 4:00 PM Link To This Comment
LOL.  I meant horseshoes, but I suppose close might count in horseshows as well.
David Caddick wrote Re: its quest for me!
on Thu, Jul 3 2008 6:06 PM Link To This Comment

Hi Nick, Although I do work for HP could I suggest you might want to try RGS as a possible RDP replacement? There is a free trial available at:http://h20392.www2.hp.com/portal/swdepot/displayProductInfo.do?productNumber=GN038AAT

The way it handles USB for instance is definately worth a look. Cheers, Dave


Patrick Rouse wrote Chart is labeled incorrectly
on Thu, Jul 3 2008 6:23 PM Link To This Comment

I wrote this to Brian via email, but I wanted everyone to see this.  How does "User Profile Management" = "User Environment Management"?  Citrix has acquired Sepago, which is a hybrid profile solution, that manages user's profiles.  This is not however "User Environment Management", which in my mind means customizing and locking down the user environment, which Citrix definitely does NOT do.

To be fair, Quest has these tools, but they currently are integrated only with Terminal Services, and proting them to VDI is going to take a little time, so in my mind neither of us should be checked for this column.

As for better remote protocol, I'm going to have to echo Shawn's comments that SPICE is not useable over a REMOTE connection, unless you have fiver between all of your offices, and I guess MSFT is checked for Calista, which as far as I know, is not yet productized, so the only "better remote protocol" today is Citrix ICA.  See, I even stuck up for Citrix, so I'm not completely biased. 

We have RDP Compression that makes RDP look awesome over low bandwidth connections, but it's still in prototype, so I currently lump that in with Calista on the "should be unchecked" column.

So those are no big deal, but here is where I disagree.

Ericom, which I think is a great product, has intentianally marketed themselves as "the Alternative to Citrix", but at a lower price point.  Quest on the other hand offers tons of functionality that Citrix does not, and has pioneered the VDI market.  We just beat out Citrix on a ~ $1M VDI deal with the federal government, where we teamed up with VMware to provide the best solution (ESX + Provision Networks).

So where do we differ from Ericom and/or Citrix:

1.  We license the RDP Protocol from Microsoft

2.  We extend RDP with the following features OEM Virtual Channels; Local Text Echo, Bi-directional audio, Multi-monitor support, Windows Media Redirection.  I can't include the bitmap/GDI compression technology we have, because it is not a shipping product "yet".

3.  We're part of an $750M publicly traded corporation, that includes Vizioncore and Scriptlogic, as well as a slew of Application, Database and Windows Management Products.

4.  We integrate with Microsoft Application Virtualization (Softgrid).

5.  We have an end-to-end Universal Printer Driver that can assign client, session or remote relay (gateway) printers via EMF or PDF Universal Driver, and can (in addition to per session limiting) limit site to site link limits on bandwidth.  This also includes granular compression settings.

6.  We make "User Environment Management" tools that don't exist on any of these products.  Functionality that this covers includes:

  • Removing icons and items from the desktop.
  • Restricting access to drive letters
  • Removing previously created network drive and printer mappings
  • Restricts access to a white list of applications that users are authorized to execute - this is done at the kernel level, not via registry
  • Restricts access to desktops or applications by day of week or time of day
  • Applies user environment variables
  • Sets the appropriate desktop color scheme
  • Assigns the correct time zone
  • Runs logon scripts that apply only to Terminal Servers, Virtual or Physical Desktops managed by Provision Networks
  • Creates or Deletes Registry Entries or Keys
  • Manages environments with any ADM Template, without needing access to Group Policy
  • Redirects Registry and File System Objects from system locations to user locations, so users can run applications without being elevated with Administrator or Power Users Group Membership 
  • Assign whitelists of blacklists of IP Address Ranges, Host Names or DNS Names & TCP Ports (Host Access Control)  
  • Map network drives via NET USE or SUBST and optionally map these with alternate credentials.
  • Maps network printers using Provision Networks Print-IT Universal Printer Driver

7.  We can assign application, or the above rules to users, groups, OUs, Client IP/range or Client Name/convention

8.  We can publish seamless apps and desktops from VDI, Physical desktops and TS (Ericom can do this, but Citrix can't)

9.  We can power manage physical desktops, i.e, the connection broker can wake up, put to sleep or any other power option.

10.  Quest has been the Microsoft Global ISV Partner of the year twice in the past few years (Citrix has gotten this award as well).

11.  We have 3 Microsoft MVPs for Terminal Services, and have our secret weapon (Rick Mack), who is just amazingly brilliant. :)

Lot's of companies can do SSL Gateway, Web Interface, TS Load balancing, passthru auth and application publishing.  It this other stuff that sets us apart (even from Citrix).


Patrick Rouse
Microsoft MVP - Terminal Server
Sr. Sales Engineer, Western USA & Canada
Quest Software, Provision Networks Division
Virtual Client Solutions
(619) 994-5507

Check out the Official Provision Networks Blog:

Guest wrote Chart is labeled incorrectly
on Thu, Jul 3 2008 8:09 PM Link To This Comment
Good Add, I am sold....where can I buy...I got a P.O. for your right here
Guest wrote Brian, stop smoking this sh--!!!
on Thu, Jul 3 2008 9:41 PM Link To This Comment


You love to get off on this sh--, don't u? Piss in the wind and get out of the way? Kiss that CTP goodbye :)

Dan Shappir wrote Maybe I have and wasn't impressed?
on Fri, Jul 4 2008 12:45 AM Link To This Comment


This is precisely the approach Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect utilizes for Teradici: we use it internally over the LAN and switch automatically to RDP (enhanced) when accessing the host remotely.

Guest wrote (Am I missing anything?)
on Fri, Jul 4 2008 2:14 AM Link To This Comment


Should performance monitoring be on the list? Once you have everything up and running it is important to be able to keep it up and running.

Citrix has EdgeSite (not sure if it monitors XenDesktop yet)
Vmware has B-hive, but it does not monitor VDI yet.
Quest has FogLight, (not sure if there is a VDI module yet)
Ericom has PinPoint
Microsoft has System Center (Mom), but nothing specific for VDI
Qumranet - ??

Perhaps someone can fill in details


Mark Prigg wrote Re: Some thoughts
on Fri, Jul 4 2008 3:28 AM Link To This Comment
Would the remote procotol category also need to encompass use with WAN acceleration products, like WANScaler, Silver Peak, River Bed, etc?  If I had, say, a user in New York connecting into a data centre in the UK, and had SilverPeak WAN acceleration on that link, would ICA or RDP (or whatever) be more suited to, or benefit from, the acceleration, to speed things up?  Will these accelerators always be more geared up for a particular protocol, like WANScaler=ICA for example?
Guest wrote Re: Some thoughts
on Fri, Jul 4 2008 3:57 AM Link To This Comment
RES specialises in this area too
Gareth Kitson wrote Re: Chart is labeled incorrectly
on Fri, Jul 4 2008 5:37 AM Link To This Comment

Patrick, firstly, yes, I agree with you.  User Profile Management does not equal User Environment Management.  When releases, the Sepago technology in Citrix User Profile Manager should help organizations ease some of the pains typically associated with roaming profiles (size, stability etc...), but like you say, user environment management is a lot more than this.

Profile management is only one aspect of managing a user environment.  As well as considering the user's personal needs, tailored policy must also be applied to establish and maintain a desktop.  Policy management is therefore an important aspect of managing the whole user experience - especially in the on-demand desktop.

Effectively, user environment management decouples user policy and personalization from the operating system and application set.  By separating and managing the user independently from the OS and apps, user related policy and personalization settings can be managed easily and applied on demand into an application delivery mechanism.

We see the key high level elements of user environment management as being:

  • Enforce System Policy - apply and enforce tailored policy settings to a machine on startup
  • Enforce Session Policy - apply and enforce tailored policy settings to a user session during logon
  • Cross Platform Personalization - retain user customizations (background images, application preferences, desktop icon locations etc...) across multiple delivery mechanisms such as presentation virtualization, desktop virtualization, OS and application streaming technologies, PC or notebook, or any combination of the above.

I hope this post has not come across as a product pitch, my aim is to highlight some of the differences between profile management and what user environment management vendors provide.

Gareth Kitson

Tim Mangan wrote Chart will need to be 3d
on Fri, Jul 4 2008 8:39 AM Link To This Comment
At this point, I am not convinced that a "single vendor" solution is what we should be looking at.  A "3D" chart that shows compatibilies between components would be more useful.
Guest wrote This is not the Provision Marketing site
on Fri, Jul 4 2008 9:06 AM Link To This Comment


 Now that Patrick works for Provision, he should be asked to temper his posts. His posts are going to drive the other vendors to defend their products and this will just become a product marketing site, which I will have no interest in reading. I can go to their website for this. The beauty of this site is that I can see unbiased opinions from technical people that test and use these products. Right now, BM.com is my first site I hit in the moring. That is going to change if this keeps up. 

Guest wrote Re: This is not the Provision Marketing site
on Fri, Jul 4 2008 9:24 AM Link To This Comment

I have to agree with this poster, between Patrick and Dan to name a few, I am tired of reading the marketing crap that has started to creep onto this site.

Guest wrote Re: (Am I missing anything?)
on Fri, Jul 4 2008 10:17 AM Link To This Comment

I was thinking the exact same thing.  It's also important to ensure a good user experience to prevent this reaction: "Yay! I have a desktop! Booo, it's slow as heck..." 


Alan Osborne wrote Re: This is not the Provision Marketing site
on Fri, Jul 4 2008 4:35 PM Link To This Comment

I think you are both off base in this instance. This particular article is supposed to serve as "a checklist of what each vendor needs to get to VDI+ by 2010".

As such, you surely can't find fault with representatives (of the vendors included in Brian's chart) clarifying how their product matches up with Brian's wish list. Brian admitted himself that this article is intended to start a discussion about where things are at in general, so he provided little in the way of specific information about each vendor's offerings.

If you don't like the posts, surely you can choose not to read them...


Guest wrote Re: This is not the Provision Marketing site
on Fri, Jul 4 2008 5:29 PM Link To This Comment
is not only here even in youtube Patrick talk about their product even if the comparion is not Citrix vs Provision... this guy is everywhere :)
Patrick Rouse wrote Re: This is not the Provision Marketing site
on Fri, Jul 4 2008 9:18 PM Link To This Comment

You're all entitled to your opinion, but I do not start posts about our technology, and usually only post about the specifics when they are misrepresented (intentionally, or unintentianally is was in this case).  Most of you know who I am, and what my history is.  I don't say our product does everything, and that other products stink.  I even pointed out where I thought Citrix was being slighted in one respect, and over represented in another. For those of you that get bent of shape when vendors defend their technology, you are obviously reading the commentary on the blog posts on purpose, so if you think you might be "offended", don't dead the commentary.  If someone were slighting your work, I'm sure you would just sit back and not clarify things.  Like I said, I don't think Brian intentionally misrepresented anyone, and just used my comments to give more detailed information on where I thought there were there should be corrections.

P.S. It's very convenient when the person complaining does so with a Guest account.  I could have posted as a guest, but at least I have the cajones to put my name on my work.  Get a grip, and stop your whining.

Guest wrote Missing Pieces Contd
on Sat, Jul 5 2008 4:55 AM Link To This Comment
Brian, I agree wholeheartedly with Shawn Bass's post and personally don't think the way you have presented this topic is doing anyone any favours. The chart you provide above is far too broad brush, will only cause confusion (in what is a delicate emerging market) and should be broken down much further as suggested in the replies above to include things like breaking out LAN/WAN protocol capabilities and User/Environment Management. Other details such as the largest production deployment would be another good one as we start to understand the enterprise viability of each of the solutions.  Massimo used to maintain a list of features for all the connection brokers over at http://it20.info/misc/brokers.htm but that hasn't been updated since January and was far too detailed. Maybe you could maintain one here by expanding your not very useful chart above into something truly useful by including some more key variables and then giving each of the vendors the freedom to inform/persuade you when they feel they have another tick in the box. When you have approved it, you could then detail that back to the community as we get closer an closer to VDI+. I certainly would take great value from that! With that in mind - In addition to the more granular details above I feel it would be good to rate each vendor by interoperability with each other. While eventually (and maybe 2010 will be that date) we could look to a single vendor to provide the entire solution, we need to get VDI mainstream as soon as possible and that will require, in the short to medium term, using a combination of vendors solutions. Citrix appear to have taken the best approach for me here - they will continue to develop XenServer aggressively to provide the end to end solution we all ultimately want but if you decide that some of VMWare features such as memory over-commit in ESX are more suitable to your VDI solution today then you can still use XenDesktop to manage desktops running on ESX. It could be argued that Provision/Quest and Ericom take interoperability even further by allowing their connection brokers to be used on just about any Hypervisor (and I'm sure Patrick and Dan would've added a note pointing that out if I hadn't done so) but for me these two companies will not be long for the VDI world and I'll explain why here..! To do VDI right and at the right price (and we acknowledge that nobody is there yet) the most important two components are going to be the Hypervisor (Server and Client side) and the remote protocols integration with the client devices. There is one reason for this…..Graphics and I’ll try and explain why now and where that leads each of the vendors. It is all about the resources to run/display the graphics and a VDI solution needs to be able to use all resources across the network seamlessly and effectively to be cost justifiable. It also needs to adapt as those resources change to deliver a good user experience. This is a battle though, the more processing you use on the server, the fewer users you can support and your cost model with 20 users per server breaks down completely.  To fix this, a vendor will… -          Need to co-develop with/acquire a terminal vendor so that the protocol can be designed to take advantage of some local processing (where it is available and the network can support the additional traffic) on the fly. Why a terminal? Without a terminal being used as the end device – the cost model breaks.-          Need to own both a server and client hypervisor. More and more of the graphics processing (to improve scalability) must be taken out of the running guest machine and processed either at the client (on the terminal or with a client hypervisor) or at the server hypervisor level or GPU level. Guest OS’s will need to have their resources reduced and expanded on the fly to ensure more users can be supported. Similar to VMWare’s memory ballooning concept but through inspecting what the Guest is running (maybe that is why they bought b-hive). Any why must this be done? Unless you can get more guest OS’s per server – the cost model breaks.  A vendor will need to own the end to end solution (possibly excluding owning a terminal vendor?) you are not going to be in the game in a few years time. So for me that leaves (in alphabetical order) Citrix, Microsoft, Qumarent, Sun and VMware as the only credible VDI solutions and I’m convinced one of these will emerge victorious. SJ
Guest wrote Maybe I have and wasn't impressed?
on Sat, Jul 5 2008 10:07 AM Link To This Comment
Can you explain what "enhanced" means?
Dan Shappir wrote Maybe I have and wasn't impressed?
on Sat, Jul 5 2008 1:44 PM Link To This Comment
In our latest version we have introduced several enhancements to RDP that reduce bandwidth consumption for Flash, Silverlight, etc. We also reduce bandwidth consumption for productivity apps such as Adobe Reader. Content redirection has been in our product for a while now. In our next major version we will also be introducing latency reduction, reverse seamless, etc.
Guest wrote Quest + Parallels
on Sun, Jul 6 2008 5:57 AM Link To This Comment

I think this will be the killer solution for VDI. More users per server and less diskspace.

Virtuozzo is easier manage than Xen or ESX for us Windows admins. And Quest also have support for Hyper-V

Guest wrote Re: Some thoughts
on Sun, Jul 6 2008 5:20 PM Link To This Comment
Disagree on with offline VDI as WAN solution. It means that I have to process locally again, puttng hardware locally, which is the problem I want to solve. Offline VDI seems to be more about mobility, laptop alternatives etc. ICA is still the best WAN option. Qumranet promises some futures, VMWare says use Sun ALP, provided you lock into the SunRay hardware solution. So ICA leads here for a while in my view, and then there is the maturity factor vs the newcomers. In time I expect and hope this will change but now it's 2008....
Guest wrote The Layers, do we really need all of them for everybody?
on Sun, Jul 6 2008 5:53 PM Link To This Comment

I think it would be helpful for us to discuss if all the layers are needed or not. For example does everybody need a fancy connection broker? If all you want to do is make a protocol connection to a backend machine, then why not AD, which would take out the complexity of CB, failure, additional HW and SW cost. Buying a CB seems to lock you into vendor solution X. As others have correctly pointing out, not everybody offers you a complete solution, so why lock yourself in? Anyway, I think a chat about each layer would be healty. Not all customers need all functionaility so why do vendors insist on selling us Rome when all we need is a column or two. Who is going to interoperate. If the vendors are not going to play nice, should we just hold of on VDI until there is more clarify in this industry minus the niche use cases that some will and should go after now.




Patrick Rouse wrote Re: The Layers, do we really need all of them for everybody?
on Sun, Jul 6 2008 11:18 PM Link To This Comment

Unless you're going to use the standard Microsoft Remote Desktop Client, or all thin clients, the connection broker is what provides end users with a client and single point of access to their assigned resources, i.e. so users don't need to know what IP/DNS Address to connect to, and neither do the IT Staff.  Like most Server Based Computing deployments, if the deployment is small, doesn't change much, and doen't have any complexities, a connection broker might not be necessary. That being said, a connection broker offers a lot of functionality to IT and end users, and is a relatively small line item in a VDI Deployment (typically about 1/4 to 1/3 of the cost), compared to hardware, OS Licensing and the hypervisor.

The good thing is that there are lots of options out there for people to choose from, as there is no one solution that meets everyone's needs.

Rick Eilenberger wrote Platform? What Platform
on Mon, Jul 7 2008 12:38 AM Link To This Comment

I read through the posts, and thought twice about jumping in, but there is something to be said for RES Software in all of this.  With regard to RES PowerFuse and RES Wisdom, management of user workspace across every Microsoft platform instance W2K to W2K8, across every device instance (virtual desktop, laptop, workstation, terminal server) is managed from a single management console.  More importantly, the database architecture of RES PowerFuse creates value with regard to policy management within the user workspace that no other vendor mentioned in this article, or throughout these posts can offer today.  Some additional notes regarding RES PowerFuse below.

  1. Citrix Management:  Integrated into the RES PowerFuse Management Console.
  2. Windows 2008 Terminal Server Management:  Integrated into the RES PowerFuse Management Console.  We deliver single application publishing for W2K8 TS, essentially delivering this platform as a "farm" managed environment.  Want to publish a single W2K8 TS application from every server instance in the network with a single click?  No problem.
  3. Citrix Streaming:  Integrated into the RES PowerFuse Management Console.
  4. Softgrid:  Integrated into the RES PowerFuse Management Console.
  5. Multi-Media Support:  RES PowerFuse Workspace Extender leverages the local platform instance to deliver media performance which will never be rivalled by a remote stream delivery platform.

RES Wisdom delivers patent pending technology in our Snap-Shot Technology for the management of VM/Citrix Provisioning server platform instances.  RES Wisdom Run Book automation, to be delivered to the market this year, will automate a range of service from the creation of users within AD, to the delivery of every service platform required within the network with a click of the mouse.

RES Software is uniquely positioned to make VDI happen.  I am interested to see RES Software find it's way onto the list above.  I think Brian that when you begin to plug us into the mix, you will find a different perspective for your view toward VDI.  But, until such a time we can only keep trying.  Thanks for the post.



Guest wrote Re: Platform? What Platform
on Mon, Jul 7 2008 11:32 AM Link To This Comment
Haven't you heard, never trust a man in a black hat. ;-)
Guest wrote Re: Re: The Layers, do we really need all of them for everybody?
on Mon, Jul 7 2008 8:44 PM Link To This Comment
When I connect to a website I don't need a Connection Broker, I just connect using DNS and it works without all the additional complexity. Therefore there should be an option to just connect period and a choice to abstract that with dynamic VMs if one should choose. Otherwise I have to pick a vendor Connection Broker which may not be my best choice in time and costly to deploy.
Guest wrote Re: Platform? What Platform
on Tue, Jul 8 2008 4:47 AM Link To This Comment
Never sell the next release ;-)
Guest wrote Re: Platform? What Platform
on Tue, Jul 8 2008 9:13 AM Link To This Comment
LOL, sometimes I think these comments are just us vendors speaking to us vendors!
Guest wrote Maybe I have and wasn't impressed?
on Wed, Jul 9 2008 4:00 AM Link To This Comment

yes, I can't say that i a satisfied with everything. It is nice but it is not gone through by me


<a href="http://applelaptopshop.com ">Used Apple Mac Laptops </a>

Guest wrote Re: Some thoughts
on Wed, Jul 9 2008 11:47 AM Link To This Comment

Interesting because all those vendors actually bypass ICA traffic and most bypass RDP.  The only WAN Accelerators accelerating ICA and RDP are Expand Networks and Cisco, and we couldn't get Cisco's to work for us.


Expand is doing between 300-1000% compression on our Citrix streams.


Guest wrote Re: Platform? What Platform
on Wed, Jul 9 2008 2:43 PM Link To This Comment
Yeah, we are quite pathetic trying to plug solutions on a unique forum like this.
Guest wrote Re: Chart is labeled incorrectly
on Wed, Jul 9 2008 8:03 PM Link To This Comment
I'd be interested to know who this $1M customer in the federal government is and whether they have actually been successful deploying and using the Quest/Provision/VMWare solution.  I have not seen many large VDI environments to date.
Guest wrote Re: Some thoughts
on Fri, Jul 11 2008 9:24 AM Link To This Comment
Also Scense is providing solutions in the same area with both personal and network profiles, plus the application delivery capabilty irrespective of  MSI, Softgrid, Thinapp or SVS type

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