Now that we've had some time to let the dust settle after VMworld, let's look at some of the announcements that we didn't get to last week while we focused on all the activity around Workspace One. There was a lot going on, including news from NVIDIA, Dell, and ThinPrint that you should know about.
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NVIDIA: vMotion for vGPU VMs
Over the years, one of the fatal flaws of vGPU was that VMs that utilized the technology couldn't be moved between hosts with vMotion. While that wasn't a showstopper for certain use cases, it did prevent some customers that depended on vMotion for their day-to-day operations from adopting vGPU across the board. The challenge of migrating the entire contents of a single VM's frame buffer and vRAM across the network proved to be challenging, so we've gone several years without it…until now.
At the show, NVIDIA demonstrated vMotion for vGPU, which, along with NVIDIA's new Pascal-based Tesla GPUs, makes vGPU accessible to a much wider range of use cases and companies. You can read more about what NVIDIA was talking about at VMworld from Rob Beekman's post (which includes of video of vMotion for vGPU). We're working on taking a deeper look, too.
For the record, VMware isn't the first platform that supports live migration of vGPU machines. At Citrix Synergy last May, Citrix and NVIDIA announced an Early Access preview of Live Migration for vGPU on XenServer, which is set to being in Q3. You can see a video of NVIDIA's Jared Cowart demonstrating it here.
Dell: VDI Complete
Along with the expected announcements from Dell (newer, faster servers and more capable thin clients), they also announced an offering called VDI Complete, which is an all-inclusive package that can deliver remote applications to end users for as low as $7 per user, per month.
Though the pricing is referred to as a monthly fee (which conveys the idea of a subscription), in reality you're buying a single SKU that includes the host and infrastructure hardware, plus VMware Horizon View licenses, for a set price. You arrive at the $7 per user, per month number after running the total price of the package through Dell's financing, so you'll really be paying back a loan for as little as $7 per user per month. The different may not be important in the grand scheme of things, but it's worth noting.
When you look at it, it seems like a decent deal for SMEs that, for whatever reason, need to deliver their apps from an on-premises farm. You can structure the deal with Dell as a lease, too, so that every three years you get new hardware the keep yourself constantly up-to-date. Plus, you get one support number to call when things go awry, and if Dell can't help…well…they know who to call.
ThinPrint: eZeep Dash (serverless printing)
The last thing I want to mention is that ThinPrint has joined PrinterLogic in the "print server-less printing" market, and as part of their release confirmed my suspicions about server-less printing.
About a year ago, I wrote an article about PrinterLogic's approach to printer management titled "Centrally-managed direct IP printing: Is PrinterLogic breaking new ground or exposing new problems?" in which I explained the server-less printer management approach (basically an agent that automatically configures direct-IP printers on endpoints) and asked whether or not it makes sense compared to more traditional print server-based approaches. I concluded that, while managed direct-IP printing made sends in certain environments, it can quickly get complicated when dealing with RDS servers or heavily loaded printers that are forced to manage print jobs on their own without a server in the middle to help.
With that in mind, I approached ThinPrint and asked them what their reasoning was behind their new eZeep Dash platform, which is separate from their traditional ThinPrint platform. Their answer was that while large, complex environments with heavily used printers are more than likely better candidates for traditional server-based printer management, other environments, especially distributed ones with lots of branch offices and potentially intermittent connections to the corporate HQ network, benefit from managed direct-IP printing.
eZeep Dash allows you to push configuration information from a cloud service to the agent, which then installs drivers as needed (though most drivers are already available) and directly connects the PC to the printers (no print traffic goes through the cloud). After that, a user only needs to be on the same network as the printer, and print jobs don't need to be sent back and forth between the endpoint, print server, and printer. Users are added to the system simply by email address, but you can also take advantage of SAML integration with AD.
Both approaches have their benefits, and the only issue I have with ThinPrint's approach is that they are separate products. I'd love to see a single, integrated platform that lets you configure printers and assign them to users as server-based, direct-IP, or both. Bonus points for doing that conditionally based on other factors, like end user location.
Regardless, it validates the direct-IP printing approach to some extent. I wouldn't be surprised to see UniPrint and/or Tricerat come out with something in the near future, too.