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Teradici CEO talks VMware, Citrix HDX and PCoIP roadmap

Teradici's PCoIP has been critical to VMware VDI, but that partnership has been in question. Teradici's CEO discusses that, protocol updates and more.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Teradici Corp's PC over IP protocol has long powered VMware virtual desktops but has evolved beyond...

VDI as end-user computing moves to the cloud and other protocols keep the company on its toes.

Last month, the company introduced its Pervasive Computing Platform, a cloud-agnostic platform running PCoIP that delivers cloud-based desktops and applications from Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, Google and more. This week, Teradici also updated its PCoIP Management Console.

Teradici president and CEO Dan Cordingley spoke with SearchVirtualDesktop here at VMworld about the state of the company's VMware partnership and how he responds to critiques of PCoIP.

There have been some rumors about the relationship between Teradici and VMware possibly ending or changing. What will happen with that partnership and how are you collaborating with VMware right now?

Dan Cordingley: It's been a very productive, very successful relationship. When VMware announced the relationship with Teradici they were very new to VDI, very new in the whole desktop remoting space. Citrix was really the dominant vendor there. And if you look at what VMware has done with Teradici over the last seven years, it's incredible. …

We've made a ton of enhancements in the protocol and we've worked very closely with VMware on many of these things. … We introduced a couple years ago our hardware accelerator card that goes into servers running Horizon that can offload all of the protocol processing. That's proving to be a great solution with all of the exciting stuff coming out from Nvidia. So now when you have these high performance GPUs generating massive amounts of pixels, our hardware accelerator is a complement.

So the relationship with VMware has never been better. … If you look at any of our partners: HP has a protocol in RGS, Amazon is another very big partner of Teradici's (they use PCOIP for Amazon Workspaces) -- they have a product called AppStream that has a protocol they've developed. So, VMware clearly has worked on Blast, which is an HTML5 protocol. Our large partners may have other technologies they're looking at or using, but our goal is to make PCoIP the best possible solution. And we count VMware as a very strategic, important partner. Horizon is their product, so in terms of decisions they want to make around it, that's certainly up to them.

PCoIP often gets compared to Citrix HDX. How do you respond to people who say HDX is better for more intensive workloads?

Dan Cordingley

Cordingley: When we looked at the problem of moving a desktop experience over the network, we made a lot of innovative architectural choices. The first one was that we weren't like the other protocols going to try to separate the graphics stack and do some of it on the server and some of it on the client. We decided it's a lot better to let the cloud side or server side execute everything, right down to a frame buffer full of pixels. That way, you don't care what type of GPU is involved, you don't care whether it was software-rendered [and] you don't care what type of operating system is used. And you have absolutely no impact on how fast the application runs. So we just let everything run just as it would in a normal PC -- very fast, with no dependencies.

Once it's a frame buffer full of pixels, that's when we pick it up. So one of our breakthroughs is image decomposition, where we're continuously analyzing those pixels, and we can tell where there's a window of video, graphics or text. And we apply different compression algorithms depending on what the content is. By doing that, we get better bandwidth utilization, much better resolution.

The other thing about post-rendering is that it means the client can be very simple. … It makes our performance on things like tablets and smartphones and software-based clients fantastic. That also makes it very secure, because we're not doing any processing on the endpoint device.

What also makes us very unique versus say Citrix is that our business is not to sell a VDI stack or a cloud service; what we're doing is providing this great building block in the protocol, which we want to enable anyone to use regardless of what it is you're building.

What is Teradici doing to improve the protocol? What's coming in the future for PCoIP?

Cordingley: We have a research project going on right now where we're doing a lot of characterizing and developing of algorithms, particularly around wireless. VDI and mobility are converging, and so more and more people are accessing applications out of the cloud or VDI on mobile devices.

We continue to push the envelope on pixel resolution. A lot of those high-end applications, they're looking at 4k displays; they're looking at wider color depth. They want to go to 12- or 16-bit color. So this is putting more and more demands on the protocol, and how do you deliver these pristine user experiences.

The other effort we have is to really proliferate PCoIP to many more applications and use cases. So that's why the Pervasive Computing Platform is so important to our strategy.

Alyssa Wood is managing editor for TechTarget's End-User Computing Media Group. Contact her at [email protected].

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