The Best of VMworld competition was a close one for us this year. For those that don't know, each year at VMworld, TechTarget hosts a rather extensive competition that aims to choose the best three technologies from various segments of virtualization, and both Brian and I were judges in the Desktop Virtualization segment this year (as we have been for the past three years). This year, our three finalists were Atlantis Computing's Diskless VDI (an article on that is forthcoming), HP's PoE thin client (which we covered during Synergy), and Lakeside Software's SysTrack Marketplace. What's interesting is that SysTrack Marketplace wasn't Lakeside's only entry into the awards, but it was the only one in the Desktop Virtualization segment. They had another technology that was equally, if not more impressive called SysTrack Transform.
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Currently, SysTrack Virtual Machine Planner collects data for a period of time in order to generate a point-in-time snapshot of what your desktop virtualization environment should look like. This includes things like virtualization host hardware configurations, storage, networking, applications, desktop images, and more, all at a very granular level. SysTrack Transform will take that a step further, using the same data to plan environments on a day-by-day basis. So now, instead of a one-shot report, Transform will watch the environment and make tweaks to what your virtualization environment should look like on a daily basis.
Transform monitors your user base via the existing Image Planning tool, watching what users are doing to decide which image they need, which applications they need, and how those applications are best delivered on an ongoing basis. It can determine, for instance, that a user needs a certain image, plus x-number of applications (installed, streamed, RDSH, etc…). It can also determine whether those one-off apps are ready to be delivered to users, like if an app hasn't been sequenced yet.
It also plugs into AppDNA, Microsoft App Compat DB, your own compatibility database to determine where applications should live (in the image, streamed, or otherwise). It can even use empirical data observed by SysTrack to determine compatibility, since the agent can see applications running or not running on an OS. All this adds up to a system that can determine not only what your virtualization environment should look like, but also whether or not certain users are ready to be migrated.
Also, it's included with SysTrack Virtual Machine Planner!
Keep in mind, this is planning only. You still have to do the work, but much of the thinking is done for you. Still, I can't help but imagine how cool it would be if this was an automated "VDI maintainer" that plugged in to all the systems that we use, moving images, applications, and users around as needed to maintain the most efficient environment! That's the power of all that data.
For more information, check out the video we shot with Michael Schumacher during VMworld:
A runner-up in the Best of VMworld desktop virtualization category, SysTrack Marketplace finds another way to leverage the massive amount of data that SysTrack collects. All by itself, SysTrack can help plan your desktop virtualization project, but the suggestions it gave were generic (specific, but vendor agnostic). To make the results more helpful, Lakeside has set up partnerships the likes of VMware, Citrix, Cisco, EMC, and about a dozen more, that allows them to use vendor-specific algorithms to determine what exact products are needed based on the data gathered by SysTrack. When you use SysTrack Marketplace, you'll not only get the traditional SysTrack Desktop Virtualization Plan, but also custom, vendor-specific reports using the vendor's methodology based entirely on the exact same SysTrack data used for everything else SysTrack does.
Michael Schumacher gives a great explanation of it in this 5-minute video from the floor of VMworld 2012: