This week, VDIworks launched a new connection protocol called VideoOverIP (VOIP? Taken. How about V/IP?) that purports to "drastically improve the user experience delivered in a hosted virtual desktop model." And while this isn't the first time that sort of thing has been advertised, rarely does an announcement from a relatively unknown company come with such promise. VDIworks was formerly the software arm of ClearCube until it was spun off earlier this year to bring ClearCube functionality to the VDI world.
ClearCube provides an excellent turnkey solution that uses proprietary blade PC's or servers, connection protocols and client devices to centralize desktops and deliver the user experience remotely. VDIworks has the goal of bringing ClearCube-like desktop delivery technology to mass-market hardware, rather than to proprietary equipment. This was timed so that VDIworks entered the VDI space in its infancy, while still bringing many years of desktop delivery experience. At its inception, VDIworks (who still has close ties to ClearCube) made available its VDI management software.
Since then, VDIworks has expanded its offering to include integration with System Center and an offline VDI solution called VDIworks2Go. VDIworks2Go is not the Type-1 hypervisor that's been all the rage lately. Instead it is checking out the server side VM to a local Type-2 hypervisor, which in this case is VMware Player. Of course, this means that the backend must be VMware ESX (Hyper-V and Xen are also supported on the backend), but there are plans to create an offline solution for Hyper-V and Xen as well.
That bring us to this week and the announcement of VideoOverIP. When I first heard about it, I thought "Great, ANOTHER protocol that only does a few things well..." Brian beat me to it and emailed VDIworks to ask why they would build yet another protocol when there are already so many out there. Here's the response from VDIworks CEO Amir Husain:
So the short answer reads more like "All the other protocols are either not available to us or not good enough for us."
I L-O-V-E that answer, and here's why:
- First, it's confident. I mean come on - there's so many protocols out there, even ClearCube's own TDA, and they didn't think any were good enough.
- Second, it shows dedication. Plenty of other companies have made enhancements to existing protocols to provide a better or more realistic VDI experience, and they've done a decent job with that, but creating a new protocol in such a crowded house shows real tenacity.
- Last, it signifies a real, forward-looking movement towards change. Rather than trying to extend something that already exists, VDIworks decided to do some real innovation while supporting all the existing protocols.
All that said, I still haven't played with it, and the industry has yet to put it through the ringer to see if it really holds up in a real-world environment with remote and LAN users. The bandwidth and preformance figures are unknown at this point, but enough buzz has been generated that it shouldn't be long before real data appears. VideoOverIP can be downloaded from VDIworks' website today, and my goal is to set up a comparison similar to the one we did at Qumranet's office last year. Stay tuned for the results of that and the final verdict on whether or not this is the real deal.
As for VDIworks in general, it's interesting to see a company who's sole purpose in life is providing a VDI solution, as opposed to an existing company evolving into the space using existing technology. The pieces look to be coming together, and they might have a pretty robust suite of products on the table in a very short period of time.