Wow! TS session-to-VM portability from Aussie startup Luflogix

Terminal Server session portability has been a fantasy of many Terminal Server and Citrix folks for years

[NOTE: In case it's not apparent from the comments, this was an April Fool's Joke. The back story is here.] 

Imagine the scenario where a user could start a virtual desktop session on a shared Terminal Server. Then after awhile, the user could "port" that session from the Terminal Server to their laptop, and take that live session with them offline running in a local Vista VM. This is what Brisbane-based Luflogix promises to deliver in the second quarter this year. (Which, by the way, starts today. So hopefully we won't have to wait long. :)

Terminal Server session portability has been a fantasy of many Terminal Server and Citrix folks for years, and the ability to use a single VM image for online and offline use has so far eluded the big vendors. (Again, Pete, when can we take Ardence offline??)

There are a few key bits of technology that make the Luflogix thing happen. The first is somewhat similar to the way that VMotion can move a running VM from one host to another. When a user wants to take their remote VDI session offline, they click a button and the memory and disk delta file is copied from the server to the laptop. The idea is that an adminstrator creates the "master" Windows XP or Vista disk image which is made available to the VM host in the datacenter. Similar to Ardence, many VMs can share the same image at the same time. The master image is read-only, and the per-session writes are cached to a delta file.

The user can access their remote desktop via RDP or (soon) Net2Display. While they're using their session, the master disk image from the datacenter is copied down to their client in the background either via the remote computing protocol or via FTP or HTTP. (Or the disk image file can be pre-deployed via DVD, USB stick, etc.)

Then when it comes time for the user to take their session offline, the memory suspend file and the disk write cache file are copied to the client and off they go! (While these files could be up to 1GB in size, they can also be continuously copied down in the background, so only a small amount of data needs to go across the wire when the actual "take offline" button is clicked.) Also, an intial memory suspend file can be pre-deployed along with the master disk image.

So now the user can use their session 100% offline in a local VM, similar to something like Kidaro or VMware ACE.

Here's the crazy-cool part: When user reconnects to the network, they can take their VM back online and put it back into the datacenter-based VDI server. There are a couple of ways this can work. If the user "powers off" the local VM, then only the delta disk file needs to be copied back up (in which case the server will automatically power on a server VM instance and perform a "proper" log-off for the user, thereby maintaining the user profile, data, etc. sync changes before it destroys the delta file.) Futhre versions will actually allow the client to locally create a "sync file" which can simply be used to pump the user state back into the server.

Adding Terminal Server into the Mix

What's most amazing about the Luflogix stuff is that they can also do this whole user portability thing between Terminal Server sessions too! An "automatic" free use of their technology is to "suspend" TS sessions and resume them later, potentially even on another physical Terminal Server.

The real reason, though, that they did this, is because a Terminal Server is still the most efficient way to serve SBC applications (in terms of number of users on a certain amount of hardware). And Luflogix's technology allows a user to take a Terminal Server session offline, and to sync it with a VM running locally on a laptop. (This only works between Windows 2008 Terminal Servers and Windows Vista clients.) How did Luflogix handle the differences between Windows 2008 and Vista? Because both OSes were designed from the ground up with Terminal Server in mind, Luflogix can essentially simulate a fast user switching session in the local offline VM, and as long as the same applications are deployed to both the TS and Vista workstation, all is good.

Luflogix has a management console that integrates with the "Big 4" application virtualization solutions: Microsoft SoftGrid, Citrix Streaming Server, Altiris SVS, and Thinstall. As long as you're using one of these virtualization solutions to deploy the apps to the TS and the Vista workstation, then you can port live sessions back-and-forth no problem.

It seems that Luflogix has created the "holy grail" solution that so far has failed to be built by Citrix, Microsoft, or VMware. I don't think we're too far off from where we can finally just create one single image: online, offline, local, remote, and where this image can follow the user wherever they go.

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Google brings back nothing on them :(
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My treasure, my MV´s !


Gollumix

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someone'pulling your leg Bri, there's no such company
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Cool. This is just mind blowing


What's Luflogix' URL?

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I have the strong impression it would be better to google tomorrow ...


 Andreas

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Nothing on Google... 1st of april...

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Brian,


There's no such thing as OS streaming.  Ardence is really a network boot solution using a proprietary protocol instead of something like iSCSI.  Dubbing it "streaming" doesn't make it a SoftGrid-like solution where you can take the bits with you offline. 

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So, in your opinion, the memory state of a TS session is sync'ed down to a Vista VM on the laptop? Your open files too? The ones open from the network? What is being sync'ed exactly?

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I only used the word "streaming" once in this article, and that was in the context of Citrix Streaming Server. And when I said "Citrix Streaming Server," I was talking about the app streaming capabilities of Presentation Server, not Ardence. So that's why I compared it to softgrid et. al.

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The date of the post isn't significant is it? 1st of April?
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You did imply it, though.


"Pete, when can we take Ardence offline??"


This suggests that your understanding of OS streaming is that it works similarly to app streaming. 


My comment was not meant as an offense.  This article, like most others from you, is very insightful.

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Brian got us all!  ;)
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Ok,  am I the only one wondering what the actual benefit of this is?   People tend to run SBC apps on terminal servers because 1) their local pc doesn't have the horsepower to run them and 2) the terminal servers tend to be located next to the data and the users are remote.   


If you move the TS session to a VM on the PC and take the PC off the network, don't you lose both benefits?   And even more importantly,  if you were able to run the application in a VM locally, shouldn't you be running the app on the notebook PC in native mode and skip the overhead of the VM?


I'm sure I'm missing something here - may be the allergy meds are fogging my thinking :p

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I think you're right we have our "virtual" minds flying to high...and this post took us from behind! :D
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Brian, you need to get out more :D
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Umm, Brian.  Is this your idea of an April Fools Joke?  Real funny.
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Why are you so stuck on the word "Streaming".  Get a dictionary and learn the word.  YES ARDENCE IS STREAMING!  Just because it doesn't cache doesn't mean it's not streaming.  Caching only enhances the streaming product as it allows you to take it offline..

Thinstall streams its applications and it doesn't cache!

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Be careful, those April Fools references get deleted!!!!??
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Just take a look at the date...  It'll all blow over by tomorrow.
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They really should have enabled TS session suspend/resume across terminal servers. Conceptually powerful, but how difficult can it be to accomplish this when given some requirements that each server has the same software. The suspend to disk ability of Windows XP hibernate feature combined with a transport mechanism would get the job done. I think they like they idea of forcing companies to deploy extra terminal servers just so they can cycle maintenance on their terminal servers. It can take days to drain a terminal server, especially if you have touchy end users who don't like to logoff or be logged off.
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an opportunity for Microsoft to add the same capability to Kidaro. The easiest squash of a competitor in the history of Microsoft. How ironic, my code to post ends in '666'
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Never heard of the company and Google can't find them.  April Fools joke?


Anyway, for what it's worth, VMware also demo'd this type of technology at VMWORLD Europe a few weeks back.  Interesting stuff!

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Now's the time to buy http://www.luflogix.com and make some money when this thing goes big!  It's still available for sale for some "odd" reason.  ;)


http://www.whois.com/domainSearch.aspx?search=luflogix.com


 

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shenanigans
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I was the first to call this an April fools joke then Brian deleted my comments.  Brian, do I still get credit for being first?  Do I, Do I?
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I think I get credit, but you did respond to me.....maybe, but who knows w/the deleted posts.
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Microsoft looking to buy Citrix!    - Save that one for this time next year  :)

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There is more info on the company here.
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They're all unhidden now :)

"Guest" got it first, but William is the first person with a user account!  Congrats!

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Another misuse of the word "streaming". Thinstall uses the term simply to align itself with offerings from other competitors.  SoftGrid is the only product that offers streaming because it actually uses RTSP.


If you want to subscribe to the marketing hype, be my guest!!!

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Funny! The sessions that you're trying to suspend and transport to another server are the main reason for needing to recycle the origin server.  As soon as you transport them over to another server, that server will immediately be in the same state as the server that you intend to recycle.
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http://nomadrive.com/enterprise.html All this stuff is not as far off as you may think.....
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This is similar to the Stonesac Product we were trying to sell to a crazy guy at 2006 BriForum in DC.  With this, one of the attendees even registered a domain name.
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Umm... whatever. You can consolidate users down to fewer and fewer servers. Freeing servers for maintenance (reboot, patching, software deployment, etc.) whenever you want to. Never have to wait for that one user to comply with your logoff requests. Never have to reset or logoff a session because you have no other choice.
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