Startup VDIworks beats VMware to mobile VDI support

VDIworks' VDIworks2Go enables end users to check out a virtual desktop and run it locally on a laptop.

Virtual desktop startup VDIworks announced an add-on to its virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) software that enables end users to use a virtual desktop even if they are not connected to a network.

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The inability to support nonconnected mobile users is widely viewed as a key shortcoming of hosted VDI solutions like startup VMware VDI and Citrix Systems' XenDesktop. But with VDIworks2Go, end users in a disconnected state can simply check out a virtual desktop from a data center and run it locally, said Amir Husain, president and CEO of Austin, Texas-based VDIworks. When the user gets back on the corporate network, the virtual desktop is checked back in, and any changes that have been made are synchronized back to the server.

"The feedback we've been getting from our customers is 'Thirty percent of my users have laptops; we need an always-on model; we can't just disconnect them because they don't have access to the network,'" Husain said. VDIworks VDIworks2Go "bridges the gap between hosted VDI and end-point virtualization," he said.

Easing VDI transitions
When a virtual desktop is checked out, it runs on a client-side virtualization platform such as VMware's free VMware Player, Husain said. VDIworks2Go also performs block-level differencing of the checked-out virtual machine to minimize the amount of changes that must be committed back to the server at check-in.

VDIworks2Go builds on the existing VDIworks platform, which consists of a connection broker, thin client and hypervisor management, inventory health and alerting, and universal discovery, Husain said.

VDIworks2Go can also ease the transition to virtual desktops by using existing PCs, Husain said. On VDIworks, for example, one customer plans to use VDIworks2Go to run a large bank of virtual desktops on existing laptops. But then, as the laptops are retired, the virtual desktops will be migrated to the data center, and accessed via thin client, Husain explained.

Enabling access to mobile users is a key goal of virtual desktop players. LeoStream Corp., whose connection broker is competitive with VDIworks, has offline VDI on its roadmap, said Kate de Bethune, marketing director at the firm. Likewise, VMware alluded to this capability as part of its vClient initiative at VMworld this fall, and promised to deliver its revamped View product in 2009.

By the last week of December, VDIworks2Go will generally be available. Laptops running VDIworks2Go will need a processor with 1.6 GHz or higher, 6 GB to 8 GB of free storage space to host the virtual desktop, and at least 2 GB of RAM.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Alex Barrett, News Director. You can also check out our Server Virtualization blog.

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