From the "It's about time!" department, RES Software has just released its "reverse seamless" capability as a standalone product called RES Virtual Desktop Extender, or "RES VDX." And the best part? RES VDX integrates with your existing VDI product and only costs $15 per user.
If you've never heard of the "reverse seamless" concept, it's pretty much as the name implies: It's like Seamless Windows but in reverse.
If you've ever connected to a remote desktop via a remoting protocol like RDP or HDX, you know that it can be confusing to the user to have two desktops (the local desktop and the remote desktop). The user has two Start menus, two taskbars, two system trays, two desktop backgrounds, two separate lists of running applications, etc.
Seamless Windows hides the remote desktop shell so that your remote applications are "just" applications. There's no second "desktop," and the application windows are resizable and moveable. From the user's standpoint, the remote apps don't feel any different than the local applications.
Seamless Windows has been around for years from Citrix and now from Microsoft and Quest Software. The technology works well in environments where the primary desktop is local with a few remote apps tossed in. But with the increase in popularity of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) over the past few years, we're starting to see a transformation where a user's primary desktop moves from the local computer to the remote host. And in this case, Seamless Windows isn't used, since the entire desktop is remote.
This works well enough except for one problem: Even when a user's entire desktop is remote, some applications still just work better when they're "local" on the user's client computer. (Web browsing and media players are two simple examples.) Unfortunately in this case, the traditional Seamless Windows feature doesn't help. What a user really needs is some kind of "reverse" Seamless Windows capability -- and that's exactly what RES VDX is.
RES VDX is designed for environments where the user's primary desktop is remote, but where a few applications run better locally on the client device. Reverse Seamless essentially punches a "hole" in the full-screen remote desktop through which the local application can show. And just like traditional Seamless Windows, VDX lets the user resize, minimize, maximize, ALT+TAB and interact with the "local" app even though the main desktop is remote.
Though the concept of Seamless Windows isn't new, what's awesome about this announcement is that the reverse-seamless capability is available as a standalone feature for those who can't afford or don't want the full capabilities of RES's other products.
RES VDX is available now, and it can work with remote desktops running both Microsoft's RDP and Citrix's HDX protocols. And at only $15 per user, VDX actually pays for itself in a lot of projects. Customers don't need to spend as much money on server hardware because VDX allows compute-intensive apps to stay on the desktop.
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 first published in February 2011