Last week I met with Wanova’s Ady Degany to shoot some videos and hear about new capabilities in their Mirage product. Mirage divides your client’s hard drive into layers and syncs them with your datacenter, giving you a few new management and migration capabilities.
In this first video, Ady outlines the basic Mirage architecture, a few new features, and the primary use cases. Mirage can now separate drivers and departmental applications into their own respective layers. Other important aspects include:
- Fairly light requirements for the datacenter (since Mirage still runs Windows locally on a laptop). There's no new infrastructure or SAN required, just a database and run-of-the-mill storage. You can also choose to offload your hosting to any cloud provider.
- Versatility on the client side. The managed device can be just about anything—any hardware, physical or virtual, type 1 or type 2 client hypervisor—it doesn’t matter.
- Only a 2MB MSI is required for the client. It takes inventory, breaks down the layers, and sends only what is unique to the server, so bigger deployments will be even more efficient thanks to statistical similarity among the users.
- My favorite part: this all works with any machine that you bring in from the wild, and if the client is uninstalled or the datacenter goes down, your device will still work fine on its own.
- You can also access your files (the copies in the datacenter, that is) from mobile devices.
In the past, shipping that initial client image up to the datacenter was a time-consuming process. But now that Mirage slices the image into more layers, there’s less that you have to store in your datacenter. If you want to build a new image, you can pick and choose which versions of each layer to insert.
In this extra video here, we get a glimpse of the management console, and Ady discusses the upper layers a bit more. The demo environment running that day had two laptops, both with the same base OS image, but with their own driver layers and departmental application layers. For an in-depth demonstration of the migration process with Mirage, check out this video that Brian recorded with Ady in June of 2010.
By combining many of the management benefits of centralization without the datacenter infrastructure needed for VDI, there’s potential to like a lot about Mirage. I’m going to give it a try with an old netbook that I have sitting around—I’ll do a physical to virtual migration, and then an upgrade to Windows 7. It may be a bit overkill for my situation, but I figured it would be a good way for me to poke around. Check back here for a follow-up post. [UPDATE: That post is now complete]