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HP struts its desktop virtualization stuff with Virtual Client Essentials

By slashing the price, HP hopes virtual desktop infrastructure-bound shops will use its sophisticated RGS protocol to deliver remote desktops. HP will also offer a free but enhanced version of RDP.

With more IT shops exploring virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), Hewlett-Packard Co.has gathered its large portfolio of desktop virtualization technologies under a new umbrella: Virtual Client Essentials.

For more on desktop virtualization:
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Products included in Virtual Client Essentials include HP's Remote Graphics Software (RGS) protocol, a new Enhanced Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), the Session Allocation Manager (SAM) connection broker, and streaming client software called HP Image Manager.

IT managers often know little about the extent of Hewlett-Packard's intellectual property in the arena of VDI and client virtualization. "That's why it helped us to put it under one umbrella," said Manoj Malhotra, the product marketing manager for HP client virtualization.

The centerpiece of HP's Virtual Client Essentials is its RGS protocol, a high end alternative to Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) which offers support for multimedia and USB redirection, multiple displays and sessions, Malhotra said. "RGS is very sophisticated, and is focused on a high end user who needs those kinds of benefits," for instance investment brokers connected to a dedicated blade PC. But now, HP is making RGS accessible to a wider variety of users by making it available on non-HP thin clients, and also by dropping the price by about 80%, to $35 per seat, down from a starting price of $99 per seat.

At the same time, HP has created an enhanced version of RDP so that VDI users can benefit from multimedia and USB redirection. Called RDP Enhancements, the revamped protocol will be installed for free on HP Windows XPe thin clients, improving performance by offloading processing from the main VDI server.

"RGS is used by the top 20%, with requirements that are much stricter than what an RDP user's might be," Malhotra said. At the same time, "we're seeing a lot of VMware customers using [VMware's Virtual Desktop Manager] and RDP, who are saying, I need multimedia redirection, I need USB support. For those users, we have RDP Enhancements."

HP has also released an "evolutionary" update to SAM, with support for Linux clients and smart cards, for end-user authentication.

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

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