VDI the easy way

Posted: April 7, 2011 in Virtualization

It seems like most organizations these days are taking a look at Virtual Desktop Infrastructure as a potential technology to implement in order to address several IT challenges: the personal device preference of users, the need to standardize on a client platform and configuration, reducing hardware cost at the desktop and others.

After working with many organizations to explore solutions from current leading vendors such as VMWare, Microsoft and Citrix, my experience has been that most of these explorations and proof of concepts result in organizations shying away from deploying VDI at all. The solutions are complex, expensive (software and implementation resources) and are typically quite a challenge to manage operationally. For most organizations, the core need to deploy a server farm that can host concurrent sessions for each client is already an insurmountable problem.

As a result I was extremely happy to recently discover a small vendor that provides a much simpler alternative with some very attractive features. The vendor is called MokaFive and their enterprise solution uses existing client side hypervisor solutions (currently VMWare and VirtualBox are supported) to run a managed virtual image on the client system. The computing resources required are all client side so no server farm is required – in fact that only required servers are a very lightweight policy management server and an infrastructure to provide the image files to clients.

MokaFive include a client agent that interfaces with the hypervisor and manages the configured policies which include some key security features such as a timer to control how long an image can be used offline before it must check in with the policy server, preventing an image from being copied to another host, requiring AV scans on the host and many more. The client agent supports hypervisors on multiple host operating systems including Windows, OS X, Linux and bare metal which makes the solution very attractive in a heterogeneous environment (i.e. everywhere).

The system also includes a pretty nifty client side architecture that isolates the corporate delivered components from user added components and gives the user the controls to revert the to ‘vanilla’ corporate image if their own changes have created problems they can’t resolve.

From an IT Pro perspective, installing the solution only takes a few hours and customizing the image is easy as well. Policy controls are very flexible and the management console is well suited to getting information quickly.

Sorry if the post sounds like a sales pitch but if a single vendor solution goes above and beyond in solving a common problem, that’s worth taking note and I would recommend to anyone seriously considering VDI in 2011 to take a look at solutions that run on the client system and specifically at MokaFive.

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