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Sun, RingCube Partner On Virtual Desktops

Ringcube Technologies' vDesk desktops will run on Sun's Sun Ray thin clients, lowering the hardware costs of virtualized workspaces.

Sun Microsystems has collaborated with RingCube Technologies to make the latter's virtualized end user desktop, vDesk, work as part of Sun's Virtual Desktop Infrastructure.

RingCube specializes in generating a virtual workspace by capturing the essential information about a user's Windows desktop and applications, separating them from the operating system and then reconstructing it on any piece of hardware where Windows is already resident.

Sun brings its ability to speed up remote desktop protocols to the party, making the vDesk virtualized workspace run faster and display more media in a fashion similar to a regular desktop. Under the partnership, vDesk desktops will run on Sun's Sun Ray thin clients, lowering the hardware costs of virtualized workspaces.

"Sun Ray technology, which features Sun's high-performance Appliance Link Protocol, has been an attractive choice for organizations with global operations," said Doug Dooley, VP of product management at RingCube, in making the announcement Monday.

Sun's Virtual Desktop Infrastructure will supply a provisioning and management framework for the vDesk desktops. The VDI virtualized workspace can move from thin client provisioned off a central server to a laptop or PC, as the worker becomes mobile, and still function in much the same manner.

It can be stored on a laptop, PC, or even a USB device and be reactivated during the period the user remains disconnected from the network.

Jennifer Horton, director of Sun's VDI, said using RingCube's vDesk becomes an alternative way of managing user profiles. Each user's essential information is stored in the data center and a personalized desktop is activated as the user logs in.

Other VDI approaches tend to use golden images or a few virtual machine templates in the data center to mass produce end user desktops. RingCube introduces "personalization" without a lot of accompanying complexity, explained Horton.

The Sun VDI and RingCube partnership is one approach to solving a dilemma that accompanies most end user virtualization schemes: whether to impose a few types of desktops on many end users, or whether to honor each end user's personal needs and generate a unique desktop architected on an individual basis.

When the latter approach is adopted in large organizations, IT administrators point out that the cost of storing desktops -- operating system and applications--for each end user in the data center cancels out many of the savings of end user virtualization.

The combined Sun/RingCube approach allows individualization, while retaining the ability of workers to move around, keeping a familiar desktop with them even when disconnected, said Horton.

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on server virtualization. Download the report here (registration required).

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