13 desktop-virtualization tools

Virtualization stalwarts and start-ups alike are aiming for the desktop. A baker's dozen.

  • Like server virtualization before it, desktop virtualization holds great appeal for all kinds of users. The technology can bring enterprise IT significant cost savings and ease of management, and give business users unprecedented flexibility in their interactions with the desktop.

  • Users must be online to use their virtual desktops; Citrix has added application virtualization to the higher-end editions - Enterprise and Platinum.

  • SanDisk has partnered with Check Point Software Technologies to ensure security of the workspace. Secure Virtual Workspace will be available to users online, offline or from a USB device.

  • With this open source software, users can run multiple virtual machines on the same PC while offline. It supports Linux, Mac OS X, OpenSolaris, Solaris and Windows hosts. VirtualBox came to Sun with its Innotek acquisition.

  • This will be a Windows-centric offering - no surprises there - that will flow out of Microsoft's acquisition of application virtualization company Kidaro. MEDV reportedly will support online and offline use.

  • This product, for online access only, works with any hypervisor. VDIworks focuses on manageability; users can manage physical and virtual PCs from a single console. VDIworks is an independent company spun out of ClearCube, a centralized-computing vendor, earlier this year.

  • Based on Web 2.0 and AJAX, webOS provides virtual-desktop access via a Web browser. Stoneware focuses on Web and Windows applications with this online-only offering.

  • The Pano package has a unique, palm-sized, hardware-only endpoint device; a management server and a desktop service. After connecting the device to the network, users get access to their server-resident virtual-desktop images. The Pano, an online-only offering, works with virtual desktop-infrastructure products from VMware and others.

  • Ceedo Enterprise optimizes virtual desktop images to run directly from a USB or portable hard drive - meaning users can access their desktop images online or offline. Because the USB stick or hard drive uses full AES encryption, its data stays safe if the device is lost or stolen.

  • VDI 2.0 supports a wide variety of client devices, from traditional PCs to Sun Ray thin clients, and works with any operating system. The 2.0 software includes Sun Virtual Desktop Connector, which integrates with the virtualization layer for life-cycle management of virtual machines. Users must work online.

  • VMware's offering for offline access, ACE lets users run multiple virtual machines on a single client PC. Plus, it supports USBs, thumb drives and portable hard drives.

  • Are you already using or thinking about deploying desktop-virtualization? Jump into the discussion and tell us what you like or don't like so far.

  • Users can access their virtual desktop images - which the company calls LivePCs - online, offline or from USB keys. MokaFive supports Mac and Windows hosts.

  • VDI, for online access, allows desktops to be managed centrally and accessed from any endpoint device. It is based on VMware's ESX technology. Read more about VMware's desktop virtualization plans.

  • This online-only offering has a unique remote-rendering technology, called Simple Protocol for Independent Computing Environment (SPICE). The rendering technology supports multimedia applications, multiple monitors, HD-quality video, VoIP and videoconferencing.

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