Evaluate Weigh the pros and cons of technologies, products and projects you are considering.

Quest Software ups ante with added virtual desktop wares

Citrix and VMware are not the only game in town when it comes to delivering virtual desktops. Quest Software is making moves with vWorkspace.

A few months ago, I wrote about how Quest Software and Virtual Bridges offered more bang for the buck with their desktop virtualization products, as compared to the more popular options from Citrix and VMware.

Since we published that article, Quest has shared its roadmap and made some acquisitions that make its product even stronger, so today, I want to take a look at what's coming.

As you know, Quest's main desktop virtualization product is called vWorkspace. It combines multiple methods of desktop virtualization, including terminal services, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and client-based virtual machine technology it licenses from  MokaFive. The next version of Quest vWorkspace is codenamed "Aberdeen." For this release, Quest has focused on three core areas: storage optimization for VDI, improved user experience and a completely new Web and Internet access experience.

When it comes to storage optimization, Quest is working on Project Liberty (to "liberate the costs of storage," it claims). The idea is similar to what we see with some other virtual storage vendors, where you can store images centrally but have the disk images stream down to local VDI hosts where they are accessed from cheap(er) local storage. (So, it's SAN-like functionality without a SAN.) This is something that has always been missing from vWorkspace, so it's great to see it coming soon.

When it comes to the remoting protocol, a lot of time is spent comparing Citrix's HDX to VMware's PCoIP. Quest has traditionally relied on Microsoft's built-in RDP protocol, although in recent years it has added some great improvements of its own with an add-on they called "Quest EOP." And it looks like Quest continues to improve EOP, further narrowing the gap between them and Citrix/VMware.

For improved user experience, Aberdeen will have better support for Microsoft Lync/Communicator, improvements for Flash multimedia redirection, Windows Media Player 12 redirection to non-Windows clients, seamless Windows improvements, automatic performance tuning of RDP and two-factor authentication.

But it's not just Aberdeen that Quest has focused on. It recently released a client called a "vWorkspace connector" for Android (in addition to its existing iOS client).

And perhaps most important, Quest recently said it bought a company called "ChangeBASE," which will be integrated into its suite of desktop virtualization offerings.

If you're not familiar with ChangeBASE, it sells a software product that scans your existing set of Windows applications and helps you figure out which ones will work fine and which ones will give you headaches (and which ones you should just ignore altogether!). You literally just point this tool at your existing repository of applications, and it will tell you if they will work with Microsoft App-V, VMware ThinApp, Symantec Workspace Virtualization, etc. And for many of your apps, ChangeBASE can even automatically convert them from the legacy package format into the new virtualized format.

So, as I wrote a few months ago, there are many choices for you in the desktop virtualization world. It's not just Citrix and VMware!

Read more from Brian Madden

Brian Madden is an independent industry analyst and blogger, known throughout the world as an opinionated, supertechnical desktop virtualization expert. He has written several books and more than 1,000 articles about desktop and application virtualization. Madden's blog, BrianMadden.com, receives millions of visitors per year and is a leading source for conversation, debate and discourse about the application and desktop virtualization industry. He is also the creator of BriForum, the premier independent application delivery technical conference.

Dig Deeper on Virtual desktop software and vendors

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.