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Comparing Quest Software's RDP enhancement to RemoteFX

Vendor-neutral VDI company Quest Software has its own RDP enhancement, EOP, but it will soon support Microsoft RemoteFX and give customers the option of combining both products.

Microsoft's RemoteFX enhancements to the Remote Desktop Protocol have been available to the public for about a month now. In that month, I've covered what you need to know about the protocol enhancement, along with articles comparing and contrasting RemoteFX with Citrix HDX and RemoteFX with VMware PC-over-IP.

Today, I'll take a look at the final large player in the desktop virtualization market, Quest Software, and how RemoteFX affects it.

Quest Software is large company with literally hundreds of products for dozens of markets. When it comes to desktop virtualization, Quest's main product is vWorkspace, which is based on technology that Quest got in 2007 when it acquired Provision Networks.

The vWorkspace product ties virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and Remote Desktop Session Host (Terminal Services). So from a philosophical standpoint, Quest looks to embrace the entire desktop virtualization landscape. Unlike Citrix, Microsoft and VMware, Quest doesn't have its own hypervisor, so vWorkspace supports all three companies' hypervisors, along with Parallels Containers.

And compared with Citrix and VMware, Quest is vendor-neutral. For example, while Citrix and VMware each have their own disk image provisioning systems, Quest can use Citrix's, or VMware's, or Microsoft's, or NetApp's, etc.

Quest's competitors try to use that against it, saying "that shows Quest vWorkspace is incomplete," while Quest says, "That shows that we're truly vendor-neutral, and our lower price means you can still afford to buy the disk provisioning system of your choice, and we'll support and hook into it."

The same is true of Quest's virtual machine management (with SCVMM, vCenter or Parallels) and of Quest's application virtualization integration (App-V, ThinApp, etc.).

So it should come as no surprise that Quest vWorkspace's remoting protocol support is no different. The vendor leverages as much standard stuff as it can while adding value where it makes sense.

The primary remoting protocol for vWorkspace is Microsoft RDP. However, Quest has its own set of enhancements for RDP called Quest "Experience Optimization Protocol" (EOP).

The Quest EOP add-on offers many features not found in RDP, such as great multimedia support and the ability to provide a good user experience over WAN connections with high latency.

So what does all this have to do with RemoteFX?

First of all, since Quest has a history of building on top of Microsoft's solutions without competing against them, RemoteFX should do nothing but help Quest. (And Quest plans to fully support RemoteFX in vWorkspace 7.2 Maintenance Release 1, due next month.)

Since RemoteFX is just an enhancement to RDP like EOP, Quest will be able to offer both EOP and RemoteFX enhancements together (well, for environments that support RemoteFX). This is a great thing for both Quest and Microsoft, because as I wrote last month, RemoteFX has many limitations including the fact that Microsoft supports using it only for LAN scenarios. But Quest has demonstrated that by combining RemoteFX with Quest EOP, they can actually support RemoteFX over the WAN -- a huge win for both companies.

So while VMware clearly competes with Microsoft in almost every way (vSphere/View/PC-over-IP versus Hyper-V/Remote Desktop/RemoteFX), and Citrix has this quasi-competition, quasi-friendship with Microsoft when it comes to desktop virtualization, it actually appears that Quest is better positioned with Microsoft than either of them. RemoteFX is a "win-win" for both Microsoft and Quest.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Brian Madden is an independent industry analyst and blogger, known throughout the world as an opinionated, supertechnical desktop virtualization expert. He has written several books and more than 1,000 articles about desktop and application virtualization. Madden's blog, BrianMadden.com, receives millions of visitors per year and is a leading source for conversation, debate and discourse about the application and desktop virtualization industry. He is also the creator of BriForum, the premier independent application delivery technical conference.

This was last published in March 2011

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