Xtreaming Technology Inc. is a new US-invested start-up company working out of Shanghai, China investing in building diskless related products. Their Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) product uses OS-streaming and allows any PC to boot up a full version of Windows XP or Vista from across a network and run it locally. Last weeks I spend some time investigating their solution, the technology seems to be promissing. I just want to share the information with the community.
We’ve seen the technology of VHDsoft before with Ardence (later acquired by Citrix) but VHD seems to be a more advanced diskless system. VHD wants to turn your Office diskless and uses a login so that a unique virtual hard disk follows each user to any workstation. The system also delivers a menu when the PCs start up so that users can choose which virtual hard disk to boot. Further VHD features include:
- Hardware isolation tools so that PCs with different chipsets and cards can boot from a single image.
- Works with third party DCHP programs so that the system can run across several different LANs (or even the Internet!)
- VHDs can be set to Persistent (retains users saved data) or Refreshed (every boot provides a fresh Windows environment
- Storage format uses .vhd which means you can use Virtual PC or VMware to edit disk images.
- Concurrent Disk access between multiple disk servers s that even if one disk server fails the PCs can continue to be used.
- Use Windows Server 2008 as an IO server
- concurrent client sessions seems to be higher than with Citrix Provisioning Server
- .VHD as the file format
- RAID1 for harddisks
- Account based access
- Streaming over the Internet
For me it seems that the solution is focused on rich-clients. I really think this type of solution is also a must have for every VDI environment! That's why Citrix XenDesktop 2.0 together with Citrix Provisioning server is better together!
The VHDsoft solution isn't released yet, the CMS professional edition will be available at the end of this months. When you want to work/play with their beta please send Matthew an email, refer to this article and he will be happy to provide the Beta code.
After my vacation I'll spend additional time on this great product and post some more technical information!