Teradici releases standalone software-only PCoIP host agent, install into any* Windows environment!

Huge news from SIGGRAPH where Teradici just announced that customers can now buy just the PC-over-IP host software and install it as a Windows agent into any machine to get PCoIP-based remote access.

Huge news from SIGGRAPH where Teradici just announced that customers can now buy just the PC-over-IP host software and install it as a Windows agent into any machine to get PCoIP-based remote access. Calling it "Teradici PCoIP Workstation Access Software," this is the news we've been waiting for since we learned that there was a software-only PC-over-IP encoder from Teradici way back in 2009.

*Okay, so there's on little catch: As of now this software is only available from Dell, and technically you're supposed to run it on Dell workstations, though the Dell's Andy Rhodes said really there was nothing stopping anyone from installing it in a VM as long as that VM was running on a Dell server.

But let's put that Dell thing aside for a minute. The big announcement here is that for 200 bucks a machine you can just buy PCoIP and install it wherever you want. No broker. No massive VDI platform with 100 features you don't need. No complexity. It's like remote desktop except with PCoIP. Roll your own VDI. Done!

In addition to being excited that this thing exists, I'm also excited that Teradici didn't go down the path of trying to build their own broker or gunk-ify themselves by becoming Yet Another Player in the VDI infrastructure space. The interesting thing is that now in 2014, there's still actually a lot of value in the remoting protocol (and clients)—mainly because the existing ones which are decent are locked away. (Citrix doesn't sell HDX, they sell XenDesktop and XenApp, the cheapest of which is like $300 and very restrictive. Must. Use. Our. Broker. You don't like it? Dont' use HDX. Bwa hah hahaa.. And there's Microsoft who really controls RemoteFX. And.. who else?) Citrix and Microsoft BYORP? Nope!

Right, so in 2014, a remoting protocol is actually pretty valuable, for those reasons above and for the fact that a lot of the "classic" features of MetaFrame / XenApp / VDI products of the past 15 years are just sort of baseline "built in" features of today's IaaS and PaaS environments. So if a vendor wanted to build a XenApp from scratch today they would really only need to figure out app publishing and a protocol. The rest can be (or should be) done by the infrastructure platform. (I'm looking at you Horizon 6!)

By the way this is not to knock VMware. To compete with XenApp today, VMware shouldn't try to build the MetaFrame of yesterday. They just need to tweak their existing cloud platform to deliver single published Windows apps. And if 99% of that "desktop" IP is in Vancouver, that's fine with VMware, because 100% of the "platform" IP is in Palo Alto, and that's the core business they're in.

I didn't forget about you Dell!

Ok, so back on the "this is only available from Dell" thing. I want to be very clear that I mean no disrespect to Dell. I mean congrats to them for not trying to build the Dell version of RGS. And yeah, it's great for them that buying standalone PCoIP is exclusive to them for now. Good win. But that said, the real story is we get standalone PCoIP.

The nitty gritty

In addition to Andy Rhodes, I also talked to Teradici's Dan Cordingley yesterday and asked a bunch of questions about Workstation Access Software. Rather than typing all this into paragraphs, I'll just do Q&A style here:

What? Why? Who?
They're aiming at SMB environments with high-end graphical workstations. (Digital FX, CAD/CAM, etc.) Andy said, "Hey, our Precision tower workstations have handles on them! People try to cart these things from room to room at offices." So this offering is a quick, 5-minute install that doesn't require anything on the back end to setup, and they view it as a value add for their existing workstation customers.

Does it work with a broker?
Today with v1, no. It's direct connect by name or IP address.

What clients are supported?
Existing Teradici Zero clients, plus they'll have client software Mac and Windows. iOS and Android will be coming soon.

Pricing and licensing?
$199 per desktop to buy a perpetual license. $40/year gets you maintenance and 24/7 support

What GPU does it support?
At one point they said NVIDIA GRID, though I also heard "any GPU" and we talked about VMs. I will clarify this and post an update here.

Is it exclusive with Dell?
For now, yes. In the future, who knows, but this announcement is about Dell.

Can you install this on a Dell server?
Yes. They're not making that an official validated supported option at this point, though they will in the future. But it will certainly work. They're going through testing and QA now. (Andy reminded me they also have their rack-based workstations which are officially supported.) Dell views that they don't have boundaries between the workstation and server brands—they just care that there's a Dell on the label.

Why is this bound to Dell?
Fundamentally Teradici doesn't want to be bound to anyone, but Dell was receptive and has been a good partner over the past year or so with their remote workstation hardware cards. This announcement is for a "Dell" product, with a Dell SKU, sold by Dell.

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Maybe I misunderstand the Teradici solution but doesn't VMWare View offer the same with the VMWare View Direct Connection option? (Brokerless view desktops) blogs.vmware.com/.../vmware-horizon-view-agent-direct-connection-vadc.html


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Yes, there are certain specific scenarios in which plain old RDP isn't good enough (which is why Ericom, the company I used to work for, sells Blaze), but to be honest, the need to replace RDP is deminishing. For the majority of use-cases RFX is good enough. Bottom line - I'm not seeing the big value proposition here. Moreover, RDP has 3rd party clients, including Open Source. With PCoIP you're still locked in.


P.S. I'm writing this comment from a beach in Koh Samui, Thailand


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@Brian - our PCoIP Access Software works with any GPU, but is optimized for NVIDIA GRID. Note that it also requires a GPU unlike many VDI solutions.


@Dan - OpenGL support for RFX is not adequate (some would say non-existent) for these applications independent of the protocol. Plus you get Zero Clients and Hardware Protocol Acceleration options not available with RFX. Enjoy the beach!


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@Dan - I agree with Randy that there are many high end engineering use cases that are not covered by RFX. But doesn't the remote protocol from HP (RGS) do all this and more on Dell workstations already? And for the same price?  Seems like Dell is trying to avoid pointing customers to HP for their remoting needs. Can't blame them, but it is not clear what the new software version of PCoIP is adding to the market.


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Brian,


While this is definitely a cool technology from Teradici, it is not a new concept or solution.


Remember when Citrix released a new feature called "Remote PC" in XenDesktop early 2013?  While Citrix doesn't sell Remote PC as a separate SKU with just the Remote PC feature it is included in XenDesktop Enterprise and higher.  


Keep in mind XenDesktop Enterprise is cheaper than the $199/perpetual Teradici solution that only includes the PC remoting feature.  XenDesktop Enterprise MSRP is about $175 for a Perceptual User/Device license, and most companies purchasing Citrix licenses get an ELA discount no matter how much they purchase or have purchased in the past.  Usually works out to be around $150 for a Perpetual  XenDesktop Enterprise license at the lowest ELA discounts.


On top of Remote PC/XenDesktop Enterprise being cheaper, it also includes all the greatness of the HDX protocol, XenDesktop Brokering, Management, etc.  It is extremely simple to setup. Once the agent is deployed using SCCM or any deployment tool, the agent will auto-discover the broker when the user first logs on to the endpoint and the broker will publish it out to Citrix StoreFront for consumption by the user.


In a Remote PC environment the only back end infrastructure require is a couple VM's to host the XenDesktop Broker, StoreFront, and Studio/Director.  These roles can easily live on the same VM's and by default get installed using the XenDesktop installer now.  Remote PC also built in integration with Microsoft SCCM to provide WAKE ON LAN functionally for Remote PC, which is an absolute must have.  Also the benefit of users being able to connect from any device/platform with Citrix Receiver which is pretty much everything these days.


On top of the benefits above you also have the option to expand your use cases from just Remote PC because you purchased XenDesktop Enterprise.  If you want to grow from Remote PC and have a need later for XenApp, XenDesktop, or XenClient then you are already covered.  It may sound like marketing but XenDesktop is all about flexibility and use cases, one size never fits all.


Here is a good blog from Citrix explaining Remote PC, blogs.citrix.com/.../remote-desktop-mobility-with-remote-pc-access-in-xendesktop-7.


Here is a good blog from an independent blogger on Remote PC and taking advantage of the PC's graphics card, http://blog.itvce.com/?p=5093


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I think it'll be a great addition to the range once it's not vendor limited, but it seems odd to push this as a solution for the remoting of high-end workstations given that it doesn't really offer any advantages over installing a physical PCoIP host card, aside from a lower price in the short term (which admittedly can be important).


You can install a physical host card in any system and you'll get support for multiple monitors, higher imaging rates, remote power control and your compression/encryption workload won't have any impact on the host system CPU usage. You can also already broker these physical host cards with View. What am I missing?


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This is good. Protocols catching up. will make the broker mafia weaker. Citrix failed to implement an HDX connect option and service providers and partners can now start to shift away from Citrix over time with more flexible options. Citrix broker is pure lock in and adds limited value. Easier to write own broker for many integrated into how you want it to work. The face Citrix refuses to even acknowledge this is a just screwed up.


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@Jimbo – Not sure PCoIP access software and Host card address the same needs in the workstation vertical. We see them as complementary: PCoIP access software is all about getting SMB onto the remote access wagon (and no, RDP and VNC are not good enough for them), Host card on the other hand is about the high end workstation users who want true 60 fps on 25x16 display resolution, separated network, no CPU overhead and all the other features you indicated


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