[Note from Brian: We've had an interesting conversation the past few days on BrianMadden.com and SearchVirtualDesktop.com about RES Software's Reverse Seamless product. I first wrote "RES Software launches standalone reverse seamless VDI tool" where I generally praised the product's awesomeness. Then earlier this week we published a blog post from AppDetective called "Why reverse seamless is not as cool as Brian thinks it is." After dozens of comments it's become clear that this is a hot topic, so I thought it made sense for RES themselves to join the conversation. And that's what today's post is. (But don't worry. This is it! I promise no more posts on this topic for awhile. :)]
Let me first start this article off by providing some context. My name is Max Ranzau, and yes, I do work for RES Software. However, I've been running my own independent blog (as in "not RES sponsored") for well over two years, giving me a certain level of impartiality. I work with the RES technology, and that's it. In the last decade I've made my living doing just that, even for seven years prior to joining the company in 2007.
I’ll cite and paraphrase P.T. Barnum's; "there's no such thing as bad publicity." I'm not sure my esteemed colleagues in marketing would agree, which is exactly why I'm not in marketing :) However, it's blatantly obvious that some have an axe to grind with RES for having the audacity to file for a patent on something that was invented and put into production years ago and then actually sell this patented product to customer who will benefit from the solution. Hence, there is a need for clarifying a few misconceptions and dispelling the associated myths. I’d like to thank Brian for providing us with the opportunity to do so.
So, let's set the record straight:
Myth: VDX is not secure!
What is there to secure? The remote session is completely and utterly separated from the local session. If you're worried about sending certain MIME types or file extensions over the wire, then just switch them off. It's all fully configurable via the server side component (called the "VDX Engine"). See the guide here for details.
Second, if the local windows endpoint is a security concern, there are solutions available to solve that issue, (like RES Workspace Manager and several others).
Third, sending information over the wire is not a security concern because we use the virtual channels inside the carrier protocol (HDX or RDP). Both can be encrypted. Additional encryption can also be added on top--VDX doesn't really care. While security folks can be perceived as the party-poopers of the industry, their jobs are usually justified. It's those few individuals among them who cry wolf in a misguided quest for job security that we need to worry about.
Myth: VDX is not cool!
Actually, it's very cool. At least that's what our thousands of customers tell us. Especially with the Z-order stuff enabling a local app to be able to be sandwiched in-between a remote desktop and a remote application. This makes the blendign very convincing for the user. (For more info about how VDX actually works, see this article on my blog.) There is a definitely a need for it and we're seeing them hotcakes sell quite well already!
Myth: VDX does not use virtual channels!
Yes it does. Period.
Myth: Danger! Danger! Third party!
It almost sounds like this is supposed to be a bad thing. Yet on a Windows platform, everybody except Microsoft is a third party — Citrix, VMware and RES included. Take the Wikipedia definition for reference: "In computer programming, a third-party software component is a reusable software component developed to be either freely distributed or sold by an entity other than the original vendor of the development platform." So yes, per definition RES VDX is indeed a third party application, but can we please dispense with the negative implication? It’s like complaining that water is wet.
Myth: RES Software is a small vendor: It's risky!
Everybody has an unpleasant vendor experience sooner or later, but let's try not to judge a book by its cover--or the number of pages for that matter. RES Software has been around for over twelve years, and if I've got anything to do with it, we'll be here for at least another twelve. The numbers are solid, the technologies are sound (we happen to have multiple other products in addition to VDX) and we are continuing to form strong alliances with the major players in the market. Also remember that all the big guys were also once the size of RES Software.
Myth: VDX may not support Aero!
[Max: Post publishing--I had to do a slight redaction here] VDX is Aero aware. However it's not currently possible to bring the "glass-effect" into a remote session. What happens is that the VDX Plugin component on the client side disables the Aeroglass effect locally while the remote session is in effect, and then re-enables it when the session ends. Just for the record VDX also works fine with x64 systems.
Myth: VDX should be free!
No it shouldn't. At least not yet. RES has never registered this or any other patent just to sit on it and milk it for cash. Our major revenue streams comes from selling RES Workspace Manager and RES Automation Manager. In regards to reverse seamless windows, RES Software has provided value to customers for the last eight years starting with the Subscriber and the Workspace Extender agents. These were baked into our own Workspace Manager product (formerly known as PowerFuse) for years. (See this article for the development history.)
Now since RES released VDX as a stand-alone product, if someone feels it should all of a sudden be a part of someone else’s protocol, feel free to encourage that vendor to talk to RES about this. I'm sure the "powers that be" are busy sorting it out one way or the other. That's above my pay grade to discuss anyway. Either way, until whatever happens, RES Software will exercise its right to develop, patent and sell great technology like any other vendor on the market. And, ultimately, that’s a benefit for our customer base.
Thank you for your attention
Max Ranzau (@resguru)