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MyWorkNow software offers offline VDI, no infrastructure costs

1E will enter desktop virtualization fray later this year with client virtualization software that offers offline VDI without infrastructure costs.

HOUSTON -- IT pros will have another choice for desktop virtualization from a company that promises offline VDI without infrastructure upgrade costs. 

London-based 1E plans to launch MyWorkNow, a client-hosted desktop virtualization product in the second half of this year, expanding upon its traditional Windows migration and software asset management tools.

The industry trend is to provide desktop as a service offerings, but the vast majority of companies rely primarily on on-premises software, said Nick Milne Home, COO and president of 1E North America, at TechEd this week.

1E's MyWorkNow will deliver a hybrid offering that uses a client-hosted virtualization model where the virtual desktop runs locally on the host PC. This allows the virtual desktop to run completely offline, a 1E spokesperson said.

Server-hosted virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) typically requires an Internet connection. However, VDI vendors also deliver offline VDI through client virtualization products, such as Citrix XenClient, available since 2010, so this is nothing new.

However, MyWorkNow doesn't require back-end infrastructure upgrades to host the client PCs, and IT professionals can manage the virtual PCs as they do now, using Microsoft's System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM).

It uses an end user's Active Directory credentials and downloads a module that provisions a virtual desktop. As soon as the core operating system is available, the virtual desktop becomes useable, said Liam Morrison, director of solutions engineering.

1E uses patent-pending technology built into the new product that allows end users to use the virtual PC while the environment is still downloading. The company claims a user of the virtual PC can be up and running in minutes.

MyWorkNow can be useful in scenarios in which organizations hire contractors on a project basis. IT administrators do not need to issue company-owned PCs to the contractors -- which keeps costs down -- yet can manage the devices easily using SCCM. When a project is over, the contractor's network access is simply removed by the IT professional.

Now in the beta testing phase, 1E's forthcoming technology is similar to Moka5, which offers a managed workspace for end-user computing. 1E will support Windows PC clients first, followed by Macintosh OS devices shortly afterwards.

Pricing for the product has not been set yet, although it will be comparable to the company's existing product offerings, Home said.

1E's entry into the competitive desktop virtualization industry will not be an easy sell to businesses with entrenched loyalty to established players. The company is banking on the fact that MyWorkNow virtual PCs don't rely on a back-end infrastructure and can be easily managed by IT administrators.

"It's a crowded space and one that will compete directly with the desktop virtualization trend, including hosted desktops," said an IT consultant familiar with 1E's products who asked not to be named. He said though 1E has made a good impression on customers with its physical device management tools, it will be a challenge to make its way in the virtual desktop space.

In addition, 1E also previewed its existing product suite line up supporting wireless Windows 8.1 tablets over the cloud for the first time at TechEd here this week.

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