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Virtually Speaking: Quest Pursues the VDI Love

By Amy Newman (Send Email)
Posted Jun 24, 2008


The battle for the virtual desktop rages on. Quest Software and Parallels continue to court the virtual desktop market. Meanwhile, Embotics looks at the bigger picture with the latest release of V-Commader 2.0, its virtualization lifecycle management software.

Quest Software and Parallels today revealed plans to offers its virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) bundle, which is designed to deliver a centralized Windows desktop deployment and management platform.

Parallels is on a roll these days. Last week, it stamped its Parallels Server gold. The hypervisor-based server virtualization solution is designed to enable users to run multiple copies of Mac OS X Server on a single a Mac Pro or Xserve.

This week, it looks to the desktop, combining its Virtuozzo Containers — which sits on the operating system level and enables users to run multiple workloads in isolated, simultaneously executing virtual environments — with Quest's Provision Networks Virtual Access Suite (VAS). VAS offers desktop brokering and management solutions, which are designed to simplify desktop and image management, improve security and address regulatory compliance in a cost-efficient manner.

Quest is no stranger to virtualization. VAS, which Quest picked up along with Provision Networks last fall, is actually a fifth-generation desktop virtualization offering, Paul Ghostine, vice president and general manager of Quest Software’s Provision Networks Division, told ServerWatch.

The product cut its teeth in the terminal services space, he said, before moving on to Virtual Iron and Hyper-V. This latest release includes Parallels integration.

It's also designed to offer full integration (not simply user authentication) for VMware and Virtual Iron. This release also fixes many of the bugs previously part and parcel of working with VMware, Ghostine said.

So why standardize around VAS? Ghostine explained that in addition to addressing all of the current major desktop channels, VAS is architected around the management of a native single image, the resulting bundle is "much more scalable than other virtualization models, delivers much higher consolidation ratios and better ROI."

Not surprisingly, this results in a lower total cost of ownership, which no doubt is a key selling point in these increasingly budget-conscious times. And VAS doesn't exactly break the bank on the front end, either. At $140 per concurrent desktop connection, VAS is built to provide painless way for a virtualization-savvy enterprise to get its feet wet.

It's getting harder to remain cynical about the virtual desktop. If nothing else, the constant barrage of VDI initiative is legitimizing the much-maligned architecture.

Reigning in Sprawl

While Quest was busy taking the desktop virtual, Embotics aimed to simplify the life cycle of the virtual server. The software vendor released version 2.0 of V-Commander, its virtualization life cycle management tool.

V-Commander is designed to reduce virtual sprawl, automate lifecycle management and extend management systems.

New in 2.0 are expanded policy and reporting capabilities, an improved dashboard, and a more streamlined installation and configuration workflow featuring automatic VM identification tagging and the capability to associate and assign policies to groups as opposed to individual VMs.

The policy enhancements can be as nitty-gritty as the organization desires, Embotics vice president of marketing David Lynch told ServerWatch. For example. an organization can create logical groupings of hosts and apply policy (e.g., to create a production environment and enforce policy around).

It also offers automatic recognition and action for unauthorized virtual machines or production machines that end up in the DMZ. A Reclamation Policy has been added that includes an "end of life trigger."

V-Commander 2.0 is scheduled to begin shipping on July 11. It's currently in beta, and some customers are confident enough in its readiness to have deployed the beta version in production environments, Lynch said. Not terribly surprising given that this release follows the previous version by a mere 11 months, and all of the new features are customer-driven.

Amy Newman is the managing editor of ServerWatch. She has been following the virtualization space since 2001.

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