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Does WebOS = Virtualization?

An Indy-based independent consultant I know turned me on to Stoneware, makers of a webOS, not the heavy stuff your mother-in-law collects. Will it break into the desktop virt market?
An Indy-based independent consultant I know turned me on to Stoneware, makers of a webOS, not the heavy stuff your mother-in-law collects. Will they break into the desktop virt market?While it might not be the "next evolution of desktop virtualization" as promised per Stoneware's marketing materials, the company's webOS does a pretty good job of delivering a user desktop via a Web browser. I played with a demo desktop hosted from the company's server. Response and feel were similar to a Citrix Web session.

My overall impression: Not bad for something built on Web 2.0.

You can check out the demo here.

I've got to say no matter how often I do it, it still feels weird pulling up an Access client on a Mac. All MS apps in the demo space ran fine from a Firefox session on Mac OS X and on a four-year-old Dell running IE 6. I personally prefer to live with XP via Fusion or Parallels for daily work that requires Windows, but Stoneware's Ajax-based solution seems to have hit all the usual benefits of "served" desktops, including a claim of over a thousand hosted guests per server.

The feature list:

Full Desktop Interface Desktop Wallpaper and Icons Resizable Windows System Tray and Taskbar Complete network and application integration with webNetwork Desktop Authentication Dynamic Identity-driven Menuing

In short, it looks and feels like a desktop OS and runs on damn near anything.

Desktoptwo, Glide, YouOS, and a slew of others offer alternative webOSes in various stages of readiness. While a few are pretty snazzy, Stoneware has the first "pure" webOS product I've seen that looks and plays close enough to a Windows experience to satisfy mainstream customers. The only client requirement is a JavaScript-friendly browser. The webNetwork hosting platform runs on XP, 2K3, or Win2K, Solaris, Mac OS X, and Red Hat, SuSE, or Mandrake Linux. Auth is primarily LDAP-based, so AD and Novell eDirectory will work just fine. Hardware specs seem pretty modest for the server side; I'm curious to see how performance on a minimum spec 1.2-Ghz, 512-MB box would play out.

It looks like the privately held Stoneware has about 50 resellers nationwide, so it's just getting started in the channel. The whole notion of browser-based delivery is nothing new. Will Stoneware, or Citrix for that matter, make an impact as desktop virtualization evolves? We're going to see more choice in this market. WebOS solutions have a broad potential customer base anywhere app deployment or desktop refresh is a pain. Which in my experience is just about ... everywhere.An Indy-based independent consultant I know turned me on to Stoneware, makers of a webOS, not the heavy stuff your mother-in-law collects. Will it break into the desktop virt market?

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