Workspot enters the full VDI market using Nutanix's HCI platform

Earlier this year, Workspot added desktop clients to their previously "mobile only" offerings, and around the same time they added RDP support to connect to remote RDSH & VDI desktops & apps. If you don't remember Workspot, they're the software company founded by ex-Citrix and ex-VMware desktop execs to mix-and-match delivery of the right app in the right way.

Earlier this year, Workspot added desktop clients to their previously “mobile only” offerings, and around the same time they added RDP support to connect to remote RDSH & VDI desktops & apps.

If you don’t remember Workspot, they’re the software company founded by ex-Citrix and ex-VMware desktop execs to mix-and-match delivery of the right app in the right way. So things like web apps delivered via the client’s local browser + VPN instead of via a remoting protocol from a remote VDI web browser, or Office365 Word for iPad instead of remote desktop Word, etc.

Workspot’s clients (for iOS, Android, Windows, and Mac) have a lot of different technologies pulled together, including VPN, browser, RDP, CIFS, document viewers, RSA, SSO, etc.

Workspot’s architecture is similar to Citrix’s Workspace Cloud. Workspot runs all the supporting stuff for you in the cloud—the web portal, connection broker, provisioning, and load balancing—and then the actual desktops, apps, users, servers, storage, and data live on premises.

Add Nutanix

Previous releases of Workspot did support RDSH, but it was pretty much limited to setting up connections to existing desktops and apps. Workspot claims (as many other have too) that much of the reason VDI never took off was because it was too complex. Too many and too complex servers, storage, networking, virtualization, desktops… Now this has changed thanks to the introduction of hyperconverged infrastructure vendors like Nutanix, Simplivity, Atlantis Computing, and others.

Now that’s changed, and Workspot has entered the market with a full end-to-end VDI solution. To do this, they’ve joined Nutanix’s partner program and extended the Workspot product to use Nutanix’s APIs for pool management and everything else the hardware/hypervisor needs to do to support VDI.

Oh, btw, if you weren’t aware, Nutanix now has an option to use their own branded hypervisor called Acropolis (based on KVM, tuned for HCI) for enterprise-level hypervisor features without the cost of overhead of traditional hypervisors.

Workspot’s ability to manage and drive the VDI environment doesn’t seem to be exclusive to Nutanix. (Well, I think at this moment it is, but it looks like they have plans to support other HCI vendors and other hypervisors.)

Using Workspot with Nutanix doesn’t change the existing deployment model at all. The Workspot management bits are in the cloud. The Nutanix appliances are on premises. You have a single pane of glass for everything.

What’s it mean?

On the surface, this announcement doesn’t seem like much. Workspot joined Nutanix’s partner program. So what?

But when you consider that Nutanix now has a hardware platform that gives you enterprise-level virtualization management without VMware, Microsoft, or Citrix, it starts to get interesting.

And when you further consider that Workspot can leverage that platform to deliver Windows desktops and apps, again all without Citrix or Microsoft, it gets more interesting.

And finally when you consider that instead of just delivering remote apps, Workspot is also intelligently delivering client-apporpriate data, local apps, local browsers, SSO, VPNs, files, 2FA… it gets more interesting again.

And then as the final cherry, Workspot is doing this for 15 bucks a month per user. (So, what, like half or 1/3 the cost of CWC?)

Workspot is still perceived as one of the newer companies in the space even though they’ve been around for a few years, but they’ve got several generations of products released and an interesting team from Citrix and VMware leading them, so they’re definitely a company to keep an eye on. In many ways their current product is doing today exactly what Citrix and VMware are talking about as long term goals, so it will be interesting to see how it all shakes out.

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Can we get app_detective to review the product? Would be nice to see if it's a legitimate competitor to Citrix and VMWARE.


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@Brian Thank you for the write-up.


As you pointed out our team was deeply involved in the creation of VDI 1.0. Puneet Chawla our CTO was the first engineer on VMware View. Rana Kanaan our CPO and I were involved in creating XenDesktop 3.x-7.x


Personally, I had given up on VDI 1.0. It was too complex because it was trying to solve problems with legacy data center architectures: slow storage, tiered storage, 80% write workloads, etc. And then after you put in a lot of work to stand up a thousand virtual desktops, end users were not happy with the user experience. You live by the protocol and you die by the protocol.


We have attacked both these problems with VDI 2.0. A hyper converged appliance enables a new VDI solution that doesn't need to deal with the problems of the legacy data center. Hence it can be significantly simpler. And we control the operations from the cloud - it's a cloud-native multi-tenant architecture like Salesforce or Workday. We are not hosting brokers, etc. in the cloud. It's also a control plane architecture: we don't host apps, data, or desktops.


Finally, we allow IT to bypass the protocol for direct access to applications unlocking the best-in-class user experience. The future of end user computing is a workspace that blends together desktops, apps, and data. We have built the simplest solution for IT to create a workspace on any device.


@Avi99 @AppDetective Would love for you to take a look  at what we have built and give us your feedback.


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Citrix is still the best product in the market. We don't undersell like


VMware and new vendors like Workspot.


Our cloud workspace product does more than Workspot and therefore we charge more.


You want Tesla.. you pay for Tesla. You want Honda... go buy other products.


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@Citrix_fan_boy:  Citrix is still the best product in the market


But is it the best solution?


if you're trying to sell product  then you're preaching at the wrong level, people want a solution and sometimes a change of thought and delivery is best.  


Are you still convinced that delivering a web based app is better over ICA/HDX then it is natively in a browser?


From what I can tell, this is what this product decides and delivers the best performance option.


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I'm curious about what proportion of Workspot's customers are using it as an RDP client versus the secure browsing, document access, SSO, VPN, etc features. From the looks of the website now, VDI appears many times in big letters, mobility not so much. Is this a pivot, or is it easier to sell to VDI use cases than to mobility? Or still going after both? (After all, it's all related...)


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@Mark You are absolutely right. The perfect workspace for us combines desktops, apps, and data. So if a user wants access to their full desktop they can. But if they are looking to access just one app, lets say, SAP that is a web app, they can just tap on the SAP app and get access to it without going through a remoting protocol Best and simplest user experience.


@Jack We find that most customers we talk to are in two camps: (a) My VDI is ugly, or (b) VDI is ugly. The "My VDI is Ugly " customers deployed a VDI 1.0 solution 3-5 years ago and are struggling tremendously with operational complexity. We believe we can reduce their operational complexity by a factor of 10x. The "VDI is ugly" customers are those who decided not to do VDI because they were scared of the cost, complexity, or user experience. We believe that our VDI 2.0 architecture is compelling to many of these customers. We start our conversation with VDI because its so top of mind for many customers. But all of them appreciate that the story doesn't stop at a virtual desktop. The concept of a workspace on any device where they can mix-and-match applications, data, and desktops appeals a lot. A workspace solves much of the user experience challenges on mobile and is the future state for every customer. So our story starts off with VDI 2.0 but the destination is a workspace.


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@citrix_fan_boy  Your comment is funny because not every one on the planet can afford a Tesla.


Also, the irony is that Tesla is changing the industry and not selling gas guzzlers anymore :)


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A bit of a history lesson...


On the surface, this seems like a great product and company. Yet, we all forgot about this company called Desktone who in my opinion blazed the trail for this whole concept of Workspace as a Service. Desktone had the core issue of cost per desktop due to our friends over at MSFT.


Gabe wrote this back in 2012: http://bit.ly/1OFUifm


This seemingly was Desktone's biggest hurdle and ultimately slowed the company.


Then BOOM... VMware acquires Desktone. $35 per user per month (which IMO is still high): http://bit.ly/1OFV7EQ


Remember TuCloud: http://bit.ly/1OFUMlR


Sadly... TuClouds is dead but again, blazed the trail!


So it is to be seen if WorkSpot can really excel in this space and take a baton that is seemingly tainted and figure out the 'gap' to beat VMware and Citrix. Is this enough? Will Nutanix acquire them?


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