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RingCube Personalizes VMware, Citrix Virtual Desktops

By piggybacking on the leading virtualization vendors, the company works to create individual virtualized desktop without driving up storage costs.

RingCube Technologies, which has previously traveled a solitary path in trying to bring desktop virtualization to the masses, is now piggybacking on Citrix Systems and VMware to add value to their virtual desktop offerings.

RingCube is trying to address a persistent issue that dogs each large-scale desktop virtualization scheme: the need to satisfy individual end user expectations in their compute experience, without building up large-scale costs in storing highly individualized, virtualized desktops on disk. A full Windows desktop with Office and individually selected applications can occupy 20 GBs. Multiply that by 1,000 users and you end up with a need for another 20 TBs of storage, said Kiran Kamity, co-founder and VP of product management.

If instead you could use the more standard virtualized desktops that VMware's View and Citrix Systems XenServer and XenDesktop are able to create, then add highly personalized features, including applications, to them, you might reduce the amount of added storage needed from 20 TBs to 5 TBs, he said.

Citrix thinks that's a good idea, and is allowing RingCube to demonstrate its approach in the Citrix booth at its annual user group meeting, Synergy this week in San Francisco. RingCube announced its vDesk 4.0 product on May 18 and said May 23 that vDesk 4.0 will work with the larger vendor's desktop virtualization systems.

"We provide the personalization layer" in the Citrix and VMware virtual desktop infrastructures, said RingCube CEO Pete Foley. VMware or Citrix might well counter that they also personalize desktops on a large scale by saving individual settings in a profile of each user, allowing the standard desktop to be varied as it is retrieved from a disk at the start of the work day.

But Foley says his firm's vDesk 4.0 carries that process further, allowing, say, a specialized graphics or accounting spreadsheet application to be distributed to a handful of users, rather than needing to be included in the base or "golden image" of a desktop delivered to hundreds or thousands of users at a time. Or for that matter, an individual desktop might include games or other applications that have nothing to do with the work environment and were installed by the end user himself.

Furthermore, Foley said vDesk 4.0 has shown itself able to support 36,000 users at a single customer implementation. In the 4.0 release that became available May 18, it is guaranteed able to support up to 40,000 users. It is prices at $65 per user for a perpetual license.

In the new, all-digital InformationWeek Best Of Interop supplement: See why VMware's vCenter Operations and eight other products stood out at Interop 2011. Also in our supplement: Dell, HP, IBM, and 13 other vendors team up to showcase gear based on OpenFlow, the network virtualization standard. Download it now. (Free registration required.)

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