Bevy of VDI tools fill gaps, ease VMware View 5 management

IT shops can get more value from VMware View 5 using tools that come from third-party vendors. Check out some of the new options.

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IT shops with VMware View may want more from the virtual desktop software to fill in some of its many gaps.

To meet that need, a handful of companies with VDI management tools have updated their software to support enhancements in VMware's next version of View as well as the improvements to its PCoIP protocol.

Xangati, Cortado (formerly ThinPrint) and Liquidware Labs all made recent updates to their products. There is also a Vblock product specifically for VMware View 5. Here's a summary of what each of these software companies unveiled this week at VMworld 2011.

Virtual desktop management
Xangati
and Teradici teamed up to give IT pros a way to monitor PCoIP statistics within a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) environment using its Xangati VDI Dashboard -- part of the company's Management Dashboard (XMD) for managing the backend VDI components.

The Xangati VDI Dashboard now includes a PCoIP session viewer to track protocol performance measures, such as latency, packet loss and available bandwidth. IT pros can view the PCoIP data using the same interface that shows all the backend components supporting VDI, making it easier to troubleshoot View 5. (It also supports XenDesktop 5.5 and HDX.)

Jason Morris, an IT manager at Concord National, a Canadian corporate services firm, uses Xangati's software to manage the backend components of his 50-seat, View 4.6 environment. It helps even in a small VDI installation because it cuts the time IT staff spends troubleshooting desktop performance problems.

Morris said he had some recent trouble with application performance and Xangati's software was able to pinpoint the problem in FireFox. One feature missing from Xangati was IOPs-based metrics. Now, IT pros can monitor IOPS down to the desktop level. This info can be used to track boot storms and log off storms for future capacity planning.

With this release, Xangati lowered XMD pricing from $25 per desktop to $10/desktop. Xangati said the pricing change is based on market pressures.

Liquidware Labs updated its Stratusphere UX virtual desktop monitoring product for VMware View 5 with support for the PCoIP enhancements. It plugs into the hypervisor layer, the client side layer, active directory and networking and provides those views to virtual desktop admins. IT can use it to set up latency triggers, CPU and memory alerts for virtual desktop performance monitoring.

This product gives VMware View users something akin to Citrix's Edgesight, which provides visibility for HDX. The company also launched Stratusphere Designer for virtual desktops, an automated image, host and storage designer for IT shops migrating to Windows 7 using VDI.

And as previously reported by SearchVirtualDesktop.com, Liquidware Lab's will release a feature in its profile management software (ProfileUnity) for View 5 called FlexApps, similar toCitrix's Personal vDisk function for managing personalize applications. That feature will give View 5 a way to manage personalized user applications on stateless desktops. It is due out in November and will also support XenDesktop 5.5.

Profile Unity and Stratusphere UX are part of Liquidware's Desktop Transformation Suite, priced at $49 per user. The company may offer deals on this suite towards the end of the year.

Printing
Printing from virtual desktops, particularly when on mobile devices, is a big problem for end users. So, Cortado, formerly ThinPrint, added improved mobility features to its printing virtualization software for View 5. The new Print-to-Cloud feature helps IT integrate mobile devices with existing applications and infrastructure. The technology automatically detects all printers on nearby networks, so VMware View 5 users can print from their session on View smartphones or tablets, wherever they are.

ThinPrint Engine 8.6 also supports advanced printing options, such as hole punching, stapling, binding, as printing multiple pages per sheet printing. The ThinPrint Engine 8.6 for VMware View is available for $27 per user, starting at a minimum of 10 users.

View 5 deployment
The Virtual Computing Environment Company launched a Vblock FastPath Desktop Virtualization Platform to automate View desktop and application management.

Vblock FastPath is built on Vblock Infrastructure Platforms, which is based on technologies from Cisco, EMC and VMware.

VMware claims the major advantages of this platform is it provides a faster way to deploy and to destroy virtual desktops and the "elastic" properties of this platform supports spikes and boot storms so that performance remains consistent.

Check out our full VMworld 2011 conference coverage.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Bridget Botelho or follow @BridgetBotelho on Twitter.

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