Teradici releases PC-over-IP for the WAN

Yesterday Teradici released an update to their firmware that adds capabilities which enable their PC-over-IP remote display protocol to work much better over WAN-type connections with lower bandwidth peaks and higher latency.

Yesterday Teradici released an update to their firmware that adds capabilities which enable their PC-over-IP remote display protocol to work much better over WAN-type connections with lower bandwidth peaks and higher latency.

In case you’re not familiar with Teradici, they’re a chip manufacturer whose custom chips allow remote desktop hosts and thin clients (with their chips) to communicate over their PC-over-IP protocol. PC-over-IP provides a user experience which is more-or-less indistinguishable from a local experience (even with multimedia, peripherals, etc.) when the client and remote host are connected via a LAN. But until now, they haven’t had a good story for WAN scenarios, as PC-over-IP didn’t really work too well in those cases. (If you’ve never seen PC-over-IP in action, I highly recommend you watch the 16-minute video I recorded last month showing the unboxing, installation, and demo of the Teradici hardware communicating via the PC-over-IP protocol.)

Yesterday’s announcement was about the availability of version 2.1 of the Teradici PC-over-IP firmware that supports a variety of WAN-like network scenarios. What’s cool about it is this does NOT require new hardware, and it’s NOT a new “WAN mode” or anything. Instead this is just some smarter algorithms running on the current generation of hardware that enable it to work over WAN connections.

Specifically:

  • A new “dynamic image quality adjustments” feature will figure out what quality image to show based on the current network conditions.
  • A “progressive image refinement” feature that will lower the quality of an image that’s in motion, and then raise the quality when the image stops. (Citrix ICA has something similar with their “progressive image display.”) Teradici’s been calling this “build to lossless," which is a cool way to phrase it.
  • A new “local pointer” means that the mouse pointer (and its associated movements) are rendered locally on the client, rather than only being sent as commands to the remote host and waiting for the refreshes to be sent to the client. (This is how most of the software-based remote display solutions work, like RDP and ICA.)
  • Finally, a “dynamic bandwidth sharing” capability ensures that multiple users sharing a single WAN connection can each get the best experience possible. (This is a combination of bandwidth shaping and automatic capabilities to detect the characteristics of the network which then adjust the bandwidth consumed on-the-fly. And like all good solutions, there are controls that let you "unfair share" it, should you need to protect certain users in certain situations. :) All of this is dynamic, allowing the system (and the admins) to change these things in real-time.

Teradici released this YouTube video showing version 2.1 in action with various applications running over 90ms and 150ms links, with 5mbps, 2mbps, and 1mbps bandwidth spike limits. As you watch this video, keep in mind how remote display protocols work with respect to bandwidth. The video shows PC-over-IP running with various bandwidth maximums defined, but on average, most Teradici users end up consuming more like 250kbps.

[view:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuEhGzoo0lQ]

From a loistical perspective, a client running the new 2.1 firmware will be able to communicate with a remote host running 2.0 firmware (and vice versa), although you can’t mix-and-match 1.x and 2.x version of PC-over-IP. (But again, it’s all the same hardware, so it should be no problem to reflash your 1.x stuff with PC-over-IP 2.1.) Since Teradici only makes the chips, you need to go to you hardware vendor to get the latest firmware. Yesterday represents the day it was released to the OEM partners, so it could take some time to trickle down into general availability, depending on your hardware.

By the way, this 2.1 announcement is not related to anything that Teradici is doing with VMware for an upcoming “software only” implementation of PC-over-IP that may be integrated into a future version of VMware’s View product, although it does do more to prove the concept that yes, it is architecturally possible for PC-over-IP to work on a WAN.

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I havn't tested it, but curious if anybody has any experience with ALP (Sun now Oracle, former VMWare partnership) over the WAN vs. this?


I don't buy hardware lock in, and wonder if by the time VMWare get's this on their sw if ever, will it matter once RDP Callista and future ICA HDX technologies hit the market. That is unless you want to be locked into hardware solutions.


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Multi-protocol hardware flexibility – the Teradici hardware PCoIP devices also support RDP.  Large enterprise are looking for ways to reduce the management at the desktop to realize the full advantage of consolidating via virtual desktops. Multi-protocol hardware zero clients can address any current or future graphics (silverlight etc) and are widely available from Dell FX100, Samsung 930ND display, IBM CP20, Amulet-Hotkey, Clearcube, DevonIT, EVGA, ELSA, Fujitsu, Leadtek, and Verari – with more to come.


Hardware zero clients alone do not address all use cases (re-purposed desktop PCs, mobile notebooks etc) - hence Teradici’s collaboration and license of software PCoIP to VMware.  


The same hardware PCoIP technology benefits are in the software PCoIP implementation.   And similar to graphics rendering which can be done in software or hardware accelerated – graphics compression is as complex a task that needs both software and hardware options.  Software PCoIP for flexibility and hardware PCoIP for power-efficient performance.


Fortune 500 have been loud and clear – they want to select one to address all users in their organizations.  Software technologies alone (software PCoIP, Citrix HDX etc) cannot address timely compression of graphics bursts such as fast image movement on a large number of pixels.   Citrix Apollo/Pictor have made great progress in their software compression – but software alone is not sufficient - just look at the very low display frame rates and how slowly they manipulate objects on their Apollo 3D demo videos.


Both hardware and software compression options are necessary.


Stu - Teradici


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Perhaps for niche use cases, but one can use regular commodity PC's to do that also, as opposed to custom hardware solutions. I.E hosted VDI/TS is not for every use case. Local execution is not going away anytime soon, and with Type 1/2 Hypervisors the management in time also becomes easier. If all PC's came with commodity Teradici cards then that this is a different discussion.


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ClearCube was the first Teradici partner to bring PC-over-IP technology to market. We remain the only company today providing quad monitor client devices based on PC-over-IP technology,


We're currently conducting extensive evaluations of Teradici's WAN enhancements and we're quite pleased with what we see. The promise of hosted desktops isn't quite complete without experience preservation and effective remoting over wide area networks. We think Teradici's new release is a big step in the right direction.


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ClearCube is not the only company providing quad monitor client devices using PCoIP technology.


Amulet Hotkey have a comprehensive range of products based on the Teradici PCoIP technology , with Hosts including PCIe cards with embedded video, external rack cards and Blades (as seen above).  


There is a choice of either Dual or Quad portals as appropriate.


Amulet have been evaluating the WAN enhancements for some time, and are demonstrating concurrent links between their London and New York offices to their clients. Existing clients have also been provided the firmware for their own testing, with very positive responses so far.


These firmware enhancements benefit PC-over-IP all round, whether in LAN or WAN environments. Teradici are committed to continually improving their protocol, and Amulet Hotkey is committed to providing the protocol in hardware that suits client requirements.


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