This morning, Teradici announced a new product that adds PCoIP to Remote Desktop Session Host that allows you to replace RDP (RemoteFX) with PCoIP. We've long thought there was a bit of a void on the the VMware desktop virtualization front, since in many situations RDSH is more appropriate than VDI, and it now appears that Teradici has come to that conclusion as well. The announcement today signals the start of a limited release to key customers, so we'll have to wait a few weeks until VMworld to get a look at it. The plan is to have a public beta in October and to release version 1.0 in December.
The idea behind this is similar to what Citrix did with ICA on Terminal Server - replace RDP while leveraging underlying tech until you can write something better. Teradici says that it's not their intent to compete with XenApp at this stage in the game, although the roadmap through version 2.0 looks like they will add things like application publishing, so that may change.
The 1.0 release, though, works on Windows Server 2008 R2 and Server 2012 RDSH, but not the built-in broker. Instead, you can use the View Connection Broker (which also gives you load balancing) or direction connections to servers. It also doesn't leverage the RD Gateway role to secure the connection. You still have options in the the form of the View Security Gateway, Horizon, or Teradici-created product for environments that aren't tied to VMware.
The real benefit of this solution come to light when you consider the clients needed to connect to mixed environments. If you wanted to deploy just VMware View and nothing more (not XenApp, no RDSH), you could get away with a dedicated, cheap SoC client that just had the PCoIP decoder in it. Many organizations, though, have more complex requirements, which means that the end user devices also need to be more complex, supporting PCoIP and HDX or RDP, for example. So, by deploying PCoIP to their RDSH servers, customers can now leverage the dedicated SoC clients (that Teradici makes the chips for :) as well as any other PCoIP client to access both VDI and RDSH applications.
Another benefit is that now RDSH can leverage Teradici's APEX 2800 PCoIP offload card, which we covered after it was announced at VMworld last year. The APEX card handles encoding of the PCoIP protocol in VMware View environments rather than relying on a software encoder. This frees up resources on the host and increases the overall experience of PCoIP. In RDSH it will do the same thing, working on both physical hardware and on instances of Windows running in ESX. This should deliver a much better experience than RDP while still maintaining the number of sessions that a single server can host, but it remains to be seen what a side-by-side comparison to RemoteFX and HDX would look like. I smell another Geek Week coming on!
It's clear by the integration with the View Connection Broker and other VMware components that VMware is on board with this. They don't need to be, though. VMware's license for PCoIP is non-exclusive, so Teradici can do what they want. In fact, they plan on making PCoIP neutral so that all platforms can leverage it (Oracle, Hyper-V, DaaS providers, etc...). It's good to know, though, that this isn't a solution growing up independent of VMware, and that this begins to complete View's offering. Teradici also says that, despite the added competition, Microsoft is excited about this. I imagine that they don't see much of a threat from a fledgling offering, not to mention that it's simply another group of sales reps and channel partners selling RDSH licenses for them. Plus, Microsoft has a lot to be proud of with RDS in Server 2012, so they probably feel no threat at all.
So, weigh in with your thoughts on this. I think it's a good move, but there's a lot of uncertainty right now in the RDSH world with the impending release of Server 2012. It will be fun to sit down and get a look at all of them, though, so look for us to do that some time after the release in December. In the meantime, we'll catch up with Teradici at VMworld and get a look at whatever pieces of this they're showing.