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8/22/2007
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Virtualize Your Desktop On Any PC With MojoPac

RingCube Technologies adds IT policy and security features to its virtual machine without packing on an extra copy of the operating system.

A startup is offering enterprise desktop virtualization that simplifies many of the issues surrounding the task. It does so by ignoring virtualization of the operating system. Instead, it leverages the operating system of whatever PC on which the virtual desktop finds itself.

This means, of course, that it leverages Windows -- Windows XP or Vista, for now. But since there's no copy of the operating system included in the virtual machine files, there's no Windows license fee to pay and the user's data and applications can travel about with him on a small digital memory device. The approach seems particularly suited to mobile workers, employees in remote offices, or workers moving from one location to another frequently on a campus.

MojoPac is the virtual desktop of RingCube Technologies and was launched in September 2006 as a consumer product at the Demo Show. It was voted a "DemoGod" or one of the most interesting product launches by Demo attendees.

By generating a user's desktop as a set of virtualized application files, MojoPac can run an individual's desktop on any PC by generating a virtual machine capable of borrowing the local Windows system. Some specifications for Windows of the target user's desktop are included in the virtualized files.

This makes the MojoPac virtual desktop a 26-Mbyte to 28-Mbyte package -- smaller than what is typically thought of as a ready-to-run virtual machine. Virtual machines set up by VMware ESX Server or Microsoft Virtual Server are more likely to take up 250 Mbytes of memory because they include a copy of the operating system, said RingCube CEO Shan Appajodu.

The virtual desktop is loaded into the "borrowed" PC's random access memory. When the system is shut down and portable memory device is unplugged, the desktop disappears, leaving no trace of itself or the documents and data with which it worked. While in operation, the virtual desktop functions in isolation from the hardware owner's own data and applications, Appajodu said.

When it comes to an enterprise version of such an approach, RingCube has recently released three ways to generate such a virtual desktop and add IT policy and security features to it. MojoDrive puts the $99 MojoPac virtual desktop on a portable device, such as a USB memory stick. MojoNet puts MojoPac on a central corporate network server, for user download; no pricing available. MojoStation puts a $49 version on a corporate Web site for user download.

MojoDrive memory device includes a VPN that offers secure communications with the home office over the Internet. When the drive is plugged into a PC, it conducts a security check to make sure no viruses, keystroke loggers or other malware will be present before activating the virtual desktop. Its virtual files are encrypted on the portable device and can't be activated without a password.

MojoNet is a secure virtual desktop image, constructed by IT administrators on a network server, where end users download it to an available PC. When a user is done with his work, the workspace is synchronized with the one on the network server and deleted from the temporarily borrowed PC hardware. By clicking on a MojoStation image on a corporate Web site, a user may download the virtual desktop to either a home computer or laptop while traveling. Security policies, such as a ban on printing out or copying sensitive data to portable memory devices, can be set by IT administrators and made a part of the virtual desktop.

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