Interop 2010 Show Winners
Virtualization / Wireless & Mobility
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Citrix Systems -- XenDesktop 4 Feature Pack 1
Judges: Joe Hernick, InformationWeek; Mike Healey, Yeoman Technology Group
We recognize Citrix's XenDesktop 4 Feature Pack 1 is a point release. But it rose to the top of the Best of Interop Virtualization candidates thanks to a combination of real-world features, slick deployment options and very broad client support, delivering your favorite Windows desktop to vintage thin terminals, 7-year old PCs, Macs, high-end workstations and iPads.
More Hardware Insights
- The Critical Importance of High Performance Data Integration for Big Data Analytics
- Conquering Challenges in the Virtual Era
- Top 10 Considerations for Getting Started with Virtualization
- Don't Get Stuck on your Virtualization Journey: Where to Focus Next
Citrix has re-tooled its venerable ICA into "HDX," minimizing bandwidth requirements while providing solid multimedia (read YouTube or corporate video training) performance in the delivered desktop space. The product offers competent performance on old hardware while taking advantage of high-end graphics chips if your host has 'em.
And not that Citrix advertises this, but we're pretty sure this is the easiest way to get Flash working on your iPad. "Flexcast" gives IT admins a laundry list of deployment options from the same base builds, simplifying deployment in mixed enterprises for hosted or delivered virtual desktops. Bundled with a XenApp server and other Citrix back-end tools, this is a robust VDI solution.
We also have to give a shout out to Manage Engine. While this version of Application Manager didn't bring home the gold in our virtualization competition, the company's initial foray into virtualization monitoring is on the right track at a price point that will raise a few eyebrows. Manage Engine has a solid track record of traditional systems management tools, offering 80% of the big dog's features at less that 20% of the cost with decent point-in-time reporting, client-side "record and playback" for application sessions and broad support for existing hardware, operating systems, and apps. Now they're hooking into VMware APIs, for less than $2K to manage 25 servers.
That gets our attention, and if you happen to be a small to medium size business operating in the dark troubleshooting application performance issues, it's worth taking a look. We hope Manage Engine sticks to its product road map, provides deeper and broader insight across virtualization vendors, and keeps bargain pricing as a core company value.
-- Joe Hernick
Unlike other network technologies, wireless networks can be negatively affected by the environment around it. WiFi has to share airspace with all kinds of wireless devices like cordless phones, video surveillance systems, even the break room microwave, which aren't designed to play well with others.
Tools available to root out troublemakers are very reactive, requiring administrators to go to the problem area and hope to catch the offender. It's a labor-intensive, cat-and-mouse game to keep today's wireless networks running at top performance.
Cisco's Aironet 3500 Series with CleanAir technology tackles this problem head on and represents the next phase in the evolution of enterprise wireless networks: self-healing, mission-critical WLANs. With a combination of controllers, software and dedicated hardware on the Aironet 3500, Cisco's WLAN offering can monitor, identify and classify sources of wireless interference, determine the threat level to network performance, and, if necessary, dynamically adjust the affected parts of the network around the trouble.
CleanAir also builds a historical view of the airspace, letting administrators locate and remove the source of interference. CleanAir brings enterprises one step closer to the reliability on their wireless networks that they already expect from their wired networks and gives administrators the tools to ensure that reliability.
-- Mike Brandenburg