Friday Notebook, March 20: Resources for enabling remote workers; Workspot DR offering

Also: AR and VR for business; Wyse ThinOS9; new Apple devices; Horizon Cloud and WVD; Citrix Synergy Digital; Windows on ARM; and more.

This is our weekly log of desktop virtualization, enterprise mobility, and end user computing news.

Blog posts at BrianMadden.com

Rachel: AR and VR for business: Considerations for virtualization, and where VMware sits. Rachel Berry looks at how VMware seems best poised to lead the way when it comes to AR/VR streaming, and she also talks with Ben Jones of The GRID Factory.

Jack: VMware Horizon Cloud on Azure launches support for Windows Virtual Desktop. Customers won’t see a huge number of technical changes, but the licensing and strategy implications sure are significant.

Jack: Citrix Synergy 2020 moves to online-only format. We’ll still have plenty of coverage as usual. We’ll also be covering Okta Oktane online on April 1. Google Cloud Next has been pushed back.

Kyle: Windows on ARM revisited: Where are we in 2020? Windows on ARM instead of x86 architecture still remains rather novel, even as Microsoft moves to release fancier ARM-based laptops.

Industry news

This week, it’s no surprise that the EUC industry was dominated by talk of working from home, moving events online, and business continuity. More vendors than you can count are offering free upgrades and licenses. It seems like whatever you need on the software front is readily at hand.

Through the deluge of information, there are a few types of stories that I’ve especially liked reading this week. First, there are the practical, step-by-step guides on how to tackle challenges that are coming up. For example:

Second, we’ve also seen examples of vendors slowing down changes, to relieve the pressure on burdened IT staff and environments:

  • Microsoft will extend support for Windows 10 1709 to October 13, 2020.
  • Google is pausing Chrome and Chrome OS updates.

Third, there are stories about what the past few weeks have meant for vendors that provide chat and video apps.

  • Slack added 7,000 customers since February 1, versus 5,000 customers added in the previous quarter. (Via TechCrunch.)
  • Netflix is reducing its bit rate in Europe. (Via Reuters.)
  • Microsoft Teams usage increased by 12 million daily users, to 44 million daily users. (Via Mary Jo Foley.) This also explains why my rant about Teams experienced a spike in traffic this week.
  • I would love to read a blog post from the Zoom engineering team on how they’ve been handling things. I’ve heard of a few blips happening, but otherwise all my calls this week have been great. So, thanks, Zoom!)

Lastly, in addition to Citrix Synergy moving online, there's a bit more conference news to share this week.

  • Google Cloud Next, originally planned for April 6 and then moved online, has now been postponed, with no new date set. This is an interesting show that we’ve been covering for a few years now, so we’re a bit disappointed. However, from years of putting on our own events (albeit on a much smaller scale), we know that they are a lot of work, even when everything is running smoothly. I would venture a guess that there were just too many challenges in getting an online event put together in just a few weeks.
  • The next editions of Citrix Converge, the micro app developer conference, have been moved to a two-week online event starting March 30th. As part of the online event, Citrix will run a virtual hackathon.

Moving on to other news, Dell announced Wyse ThinOS9 this week. With all the attention that IGEL and Stratodesk have been getting over the last few years, we can’t forget that there are plenty of ThinOS users out there, too. Dell’s blog post mentioned a focus on supporting Citrix Workspace app, with support for browser content redirection and enlightened data transport. There’s also a new management suite. Given all the activity in this space, we’re going to reach out to see what else we can learn.

Workspot this week announced a new multi-region disaster recovery offering, building off of their Cloud Desktop Fabric offering that I recently covered. Workspot already provides customers with the ability to have a pool of cloud desktops on standby for DR, as well as the ability to back up cloud desktops. With the new offering, customers will be able to back up their cloud desktops into a completely different Azure region. The idea is that if an Azure region goes down, customers can just flip a switch to go over to their DR region. Workspot uses Azure to replicate the desktops and back them up once a day, and the clients can be configured to go to the DR pool if their primary pool isn’t available. An entire Azure region going down (or even just degrading) is a pretty extreme event, but there are plenty of organizations out there that are worried about just such a thing. So, this could give them a way to get better uptime.

Other news and notes

Apple’s new MacBook is cheaper, has better specifications, and has a keyboard that should be more reliable. I’ve said it a million times, but Macs are really taking off in the enterprise these days, so this model will be an easy choice for countless organizations.

Also from Apple, iPadOS 13.4 is finally bringing real trackpad and mouse support, and the iPad Pro is getting a new keyboard cover option that includes a trackpad. Get ready for a wave of new iPad client demos from Citrix, VMware, and other desktop virtualization vendors.

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