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This article is part of our Conference Coverage: Citrix Synergy 2018 conference coverage

NComputing finds spot in desktop virtualization market with SME focus

NComputing CTO Richard Sah discusses new opportunities for IT to take advantage of desktop virtualization, thanks to lower cost and the emergence of hyper-converged infrastructure.

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The desktop virtualization market continues to evolve as barriers to adoption decrease, opening...

the door for smaller organizations to take advantage.

NComputing, a desktop virtualization vendor based in San Mateo, Calif., targets small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), particularly outside of the U.S., CTO Richard Sah said. The company acquired VDI vendor Verde Workspaces -- formerly Virtual Bridges -- last year and released a new version of its platform in March. NComputing's vSpace software for session-hosted desktops and applications received an update that month, as well.

A longtime partner experienced with client hardware, NComputing also collaborated with Citrix to develop the Workspace Hub connected device, which Citrix demoed here at its Synergy user conference.

Here, Sah explains more about how NComputing fits into the desktop virtualization market and discusses changes in how IT professionals view VDI and desktop as a service.

How do you handle both competing with Citrix and also partnering with them?

NComputing CTO Richard SahRichard Sah

Richard Sah: Citrix focuses on organizations that are larger than 500 users. For Verde, we're focused on SME. Those are typically 500-and-below organizations. Maybe they have a few satellite offices. They want a simple VDI solution. We think it's complementary. For vSpace, we started in education ... and then we extend into SMEs. We target APAC [Asia-Pacific], Europe, also the U.S.

What's new in vSpace and Verde?

Sah: [In] vSpace Pro 11, a new feature is what we call vCast -- the ability to do content redirection from, say, a YouTube video without going through the server. That provides a better performance quality for the user. We reshaped our business model. In previous versions of vSpace, we had the premium features a la carte [for certain licenses]. Now, everything's all-inclusive.

There's opportunity for an affordable VDI solution that's simple to use. That was the reason we purchased Verde. Over the last year, we streamlined a lot of ... the tools they offer. We added our protocol. And we just made the user experience better.

What went into developing the Workspace Hub with Citrix?

Sah: Workspace Hub is about applications, your desktop, all your data on the go. It doesn't matter where you are. It's also contextual.

We worked with their engineering team to prove out the concept. We've specialized in thin clients for the last 15 years. But the concept of the Hub is more than a thin client. It's a smart hub. It has proximity authentication [that detects where the user is located] ... and can log you in automatically. It's a Raspberry Pi 3 device, so there's a lot of interoperability out there with IoT. Through the [Microsoft] Azure IoT integration, a company can leverage this device to ... write logic apps.

What trends are you seeing today in the desktop virtualization market?

A few years ago, VDI was a term only the large enterprises talked about.
Richard SahCTO, NComputing

Sah: A few years ago, VDI was a term only the large enterprises talked about. It was very pricy, very complex. With the emergence of hyper-converged infrastructure, everything is easier than ever before. There [are] a lot of security-related concerns and regulatory compliance data protection needs. So, we see a lot of external forces driving adoption.

Desktop as a service is kind of expensive. For some use cases -- contractors, they don't want to have to buy a laptop -- where you have no Capex, it will be great. Anything where you can delay the Capex and have control over when you want to spend the money, that's when it makes sense. I do think that adoption is more compelling now, because the cost is getting lower. People have kind of dipped their toe and understand security and feel more comfortable. So, this will be a trend. But you have to have an area with good internet connections.

There's a lot of hype on AI and machine learning. From the end-user-computing standpoint, how can you make the workspace smart based on the contextual sense?

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On the other hand, if you back up only the data, you'll have to figure out how to get the user up and running on a desktop with all the apps first before you can restore the data.
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