How does Leostream still exist?

Leostream is a connection broker software company. In a world where connection brokers are becoming a commodity, how is it possible that Leostream still exists?

Leostream is a connection broker software company. In a world where connection brokers are becoming a commodity, how is it possible that Leostream still exists? Are they barely hanging on, clinging to past successes? Or do they know something that everyone who's saying connection brokers are a commodity doesn't know?

I used to think Leostream could ride the wave of the big companies buying little VDI parts makers, but when Symantec acquired connection broker maker nSuite last August, I thought that would do it for Leostream. I mean if Symantec didn't buy them, then who was left?

I spoke to Leostream's CEO, Mike Palin, and director of technical services, Eric Hanselman, on the phone today. We discussed these very questions.

In the past I'd heard that Leostream's success was based on being completely agnostic. They could connect to different hypervisors and different application and desktop delivery systems and present them via one consolidated interface. "Fine enough," I thought, "but what about when Citrix or VMware or Microsoft can do everything themselves?"

Certainly the prospect of one vendor doing everything would mean that Leostream wouldn't be needed, but that's just not realistic in the enterprise world. Large enterprises have the multi-vendor complexities that Leostream loves, and that's not going away anytime soon. Even companies that choose to deliver all applications and desktops via Citrix might find themselves having to integrate a third-party SSL-VPN or two-factor authentication system that isn't going away.

Take a look at desktop delivery. Citrix dominates the space for TS-delivered desktops, VMware dominates the hypervisor, Microsoft is rapidly coming into both spaces, and no one knows who's going to win long term. Unfortunately companies can't wait five years before picking a technology, and something like Leostream could allow the company to pick and choose different bits from different vendors. In most cases customers will already have a large deployment of something like Citrix XenApp for Terminal Server-based remote desktops and applications. And then if the customer wants to try out VDI from VMware, Leostream can be used to tie those two environments together and provide a single intelligent interface for the user.

Perhaps the biggest surprise to me was that Leostream doesn't compete with Citrix or VMware. In fact, they're partners with both and a large chunk of their business comes from those vendors. For example, when Citrix is in there trying to sell XenDesktop, maybe it works fine in the proof of concept lab. But then once they start to roll it out, the team realizes, "uh-oh, how are we going to tie it into this? Time to bring in Leostream."

The key with Leostream is that they're not replacing anything that a customer already has in place. They're just a connection broker, not a new framework for publishing applications. Their connection broker does have policy framework so you can configure different scenarios depending on client capabilities or connection scenarios. (For example, you have a single portal for VMware View desktops and Citrix XenApp desktops, and it routes you to the proper one depending on who you are or where on the network you're connecting from.)

The competition

Who does Leostream compete against? With pricing starting at $75 per concurrent user, their biggest competition is probably against the customer itself, with people thinking, "Why do I need to spend more money on top of everything I've already spent with Microsoft, VMware, Citrix, or Sun?"

In terms of the portal, visionapp's Workspace Management comes to mind. It's something like Citrix Web Interface on steroids, and it can be a single portal that connects users to their Citrix, TS, local, and web applications.

I also wonder about products like Quest vWorkspace or Ericom Powerterm WebConnect, although both of those products are really designed to replace Citrix or View and to be your primary framework for connecting users to desktops.

What do you think? Is anyone out there using Leostream? (Their largest deployment to date is for 30k users, which is certainly impressive.) I talked to a few people at Citrix who absolutely love Leostream and said that they really saved the day on a couple of deals. I wonder if the "saving the day" really is their sweet spot. Maybe it's one of those "if you have to ask, you won't understand," but "if you need it, then you need it, period."

 

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We've certainly been impressed with them.  I work for a large Clinical Reseach Organization and started working with them a few years ago when we started dabbling with virtual XP images.  I've been very happy with their willingess to add new features (just try that with a big name vendor) and overall eagerness to make sure we're happy.   After the big guys started coming out with their connection broker offerings - we re-evaluated and chose to say with Leostream.


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They offer brokering for 64-bit windows desktops OS's?


The agents for View & XenDesktop are 32-bit only


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Leostream was, in the early days of VDI, a pioneering company. When I first started looking at the potential uses for VDI it was one of the few viable options unless you were prepared to lock yourself into a very limited set of functions delivered by the big guys. The only reason we didn't go with it at the time was the lack of eDirectory pass-thru authentication. As you say, its biggest benefit is its openness and adaptability; it is possibly the only true 'broker' left in the marketplace; all the others come with some sort of tie-in to the vendors' other products. If you want to build as close as possible to a future-proof brokering infrastructure, maybe Leostream is still the best option? I think it fulfills a valuable role in this respect and I hope the company survives. Like you though, I'm surprised to see its still alive; I talked to the founder some time ago and he was clear that he was a serial entrepreneur, so the expectation at that time was that the company would be built up and sold on.


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I work for a French liberal arts university and started working with Leostream since 2006. With only eight people handle the university's desktop infrastructure


it was critical that the connection broker be as easily managed as possible.


Leostream Connection Broker (CB) is simple to install, manage & set-up.Deployed as a virtual appliance within a Vmware platform we can easily create a scalable & secure CB cluster solution. The CB was interfaced with our SSO system based on the open source C.A.S. application.


We build our VDI infrastructure like a “LEGO” bricks getting the best of each world


(Eg.Vmware hypervisor, VM with streamed OS from Citrix (formerly Ardence), Wyse V10L thin client units for its advanced multimedia & usb features


and shortcuts to “Thinapped” applications) and to put it all together the Leostream CB “glue”. It do the right work & a good job !


Also when dealing with hosted desktops (VM) management of turn-over is a big problem. The CB must to manage VM's pools quickly.


Leostream CB solved this by providing  an accurate list of free hosted desktops secure and up to date.


For me, Leostream connection broker is the “best option” and the “must-have” piece of technology to build a robust VDI infrastructure !.


Humberto Duarte


Rennes 2 university, France


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we (eG Innovations) built a monitor for a Leostream user,- We were impressed with all the features it has - we're working on more Leo clients and new features now  


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