With its overarching protocol, Teradici's Arch offering looks really enticing for VMware View environments.
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Teradici, the company behind VMware's PC over IP (PCoIP) remote display protocol, recently released Arch, its session-hosted remote desktop offering that falls into the same category as other Remote Desktop Session Host-based software, such as Quest vWorkspace and Citrix XenApp.
Not only is it the first major new product in the server-based computing market in a while, but it's also important for View customers who have been forced to use a different platform and protocol for non-VDI remote desktops. Arch uses PCoIP -- just like VMware View -- so any View-compatible or Teradici thin client can access sessions delivered via PCoIP.
What Arch competes with -- or doesn't
During its alpha release in August, Teradici was quick to say that it was not competing with XenApp, although I'd venture to say that it would if it could. At this stage, the only thing in Arch that's competitive is the Teradici PCoIP protocol, not the feature set.
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In fact, the 1.0 release doesn't have its own connection broker, load balancer or secure gateway. For those functions, it uses VMware View. The company will be adding its own components to make this a standalone product, but for the time being, the only people using Arch will be existing View customers.
You might think Microsoft or VMware would be upset at the thought of Teradici setting out on its own. According to Teradici, though, it's working closely with both companies to make the best of the technology. Besides, you have to have VMware View to make it work, and you have to buy Remote Desktop Services (RDS) client access licenses from Microsoft, so why wouldn't those vendors be happy?
This is a smart move by Teradici, which realizes that despite its expertise in chip-making and graphics, its real intellectual property is Teradici PCoIP.
Arch doesn't come full circle
That said, this first version of Teradici Arch has some limitations beyond requiring View components. First, it only supports Windows Server 2008 R2, not Server 2012. Because of this, any comparisons made to Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) must be made with that frame of reference. Microsoft renamed RDP as RemoteFX in Windows Server 2012 against this new version of the protocol.
Another limitation, and the reason that this release is only a Tech Preview, is that Arch uses the VMware View connection broker, which was designed to support one session per server. It can technically support up to 45 sessions, but Arch pushes past that limit and exposes this 45-session ceiling. The two companies are working to fix that and expect to have it ready for primetime soon.
Teradici Arch works on both physical and virtual servers, but you'd be wise to use virtual servers for any testing you do during the Tech Preview. That way, you can run multiple 2008 R2 servers on a host, which means you can host more than 45 sessions per physical server. Additionally, Arch works with Teradici's Apex GPU offload cards, which provide the same enhanced graphics performance you'd see in VMware View environments.
Teradici Arch pricing
When Arch is released, retail pricing will be $60 per named user, which includes one year of maintenance. Ongoing maintenance is $10 per user, per year. There is no concurrent licensing model at this point, which could be a sticking point for organizations that have per-device RDS licenses and concurrent XenApp licenses.
I think Teradici will be willing to listen as the product grows. By version 2, on the schedule for a Q3 release, the company expects to be able to take advantage of the RD Connection Broker and RD Gateway. VMworld 2013 should be interesting!