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.
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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.
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.