You are viewing posts by Chris Midgley

Unidesk announces "Definitive Guide to Desktop Layering"

Posted by Chris Midgley on Dec 9, 2014

Interest in desktop layering is at an all-time high. Gartner favorably compared layering to traditional application delivery methods in its recent report “Selecting the Right Application Delivery Model for Virtual Desktops." VMware is actively promoting the App Volumes (formerly CloudVolumes) application layering technology it acquired earlier this year. Unidesk is growing faster than ever, with 900 customers using our desktop layering platform to manage Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI).

With so much focus on this innovative new approach to delivering and managing Windows desktops and applications in the cloud, it’s time that IT professionals had a guide to help them understand what desktop layering is and what the essential requirements of an effective layering solution are.

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Will VDI decrease or increase your desktop TCO?

Posted by Chris Midgley on Nov 2, 2011

What's the top benefit you expect to get when you virtualize your desktops? I'll bet most of you will say you expect to substantially reduce the cost of ownership. And that makes a lot of sense, as desktop management is one of the largest cost centers in IT. The approach to managing desktops has changed little in over a decade, making it ripe for improvement.

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How many applications have you virtualized?

Posted by Chris Midgley on Sep 13, 2011

Application virtualization isn't new.  It's been around for many years, and it's wonderfully useful with VDI deployments.  It solves so many IT management problems - single image management of applications, personalized application delivery, reduction of application conflicts (aka, "DLL hell") and more. 

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Lock it down and throw away the key!

Posted by Chris Midgley on Jul 12, 2011

One of the cool capabilities of Unidesk is how we persist any and all changes made to a desktop, while simultaneously providing single image management of apps and the OS.  The value here is obvious when your desktop use case requires the ability for users to install their own applications, add-ins, drivers, etc.  That's clearly something that non-persistent VDI can't do. 

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When all is said and done, do IOPS really matter?

Posted by Chris Midgley on Apr 13, 2011

For some time now, IOPS has been all the rage with VDI, and for good reason.  Understanding how many IOPS your desktops require is a critical component in understanding how to size your VDI infrastructure.  And when using a traditional rotating disk based storage system, it is easy to see why IOPS matter.  At some number of IOPS - typically around 2,000-4,000 - the storage array will begin to bog down.  Queue depth will increase as the array is waiting on the disks to respond to prior requests.  This is easily seen when monitoring latency on the array - response times will go from an acceptable 5-20ms, and then skyrocket upwards as load increases and users complain!

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Pushing beyond the limits of virtual desktop density

Posted by Chris Midgley on Apr 1, 2011

Note: The article below was published on April 1, 2011 as an April Fools joke.   Unidesk is not developing Quantum Virtualization (at least not right now...!)  Enjoy.

Unidesk was formed a bit over three years ago to bring to market a new approach to virtual desktop management, built on two key inventions.  These inventions - CacheCloud and Composite Virtualization - make it possible to have a fully persistent desktop,

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I love change, but don't change me!

Posted by Chris Midgley on Mar 9, 2011

Change can be a wonderful thing.  For example, changing from traditional distributed PC management to server-hosted VDI.  Tasks which were never ending and painful, like provisioning new desktops, patching and delivering applications, securing the information on all end points, are suddenly vastly easier.  Just one gold image of the OS and each application – provision/patch once, and press a button and wham!  Everybody has a wonderful, fresh, update-to-date desktop.  Desktop management will never be the same.

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Making sense of VDI SAN performance

Posted by Chris Midgley on Mar 2, 2011

VDI storage is a complex beast.  It's hard enough to figure out how much capacity you need, but figuring out performance is a whole different story.  It starts by determining performance requirements, measured in IOPS (learn more about IOPS and VDI performance).  Once you have a baseline, you then embark on a staggering complex and obfuscated world of storage vendors and storage architectures.

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The broken VDI promise

Posted by Chris Midgley on Feb 23, 2011

There are many good reasons to consider virtualizing your desktops – but one of the most compelling is how it will revolutionize desktop management.  Just think of it – by separating the operating system, applications and user persona into individually manageable layers, you can easily install, configure, secure, and patch just one image and deploy to scads of desktops knowing that every desktop will be up-to-date.  No more staging areas, reloading of operating systems, deploying applications over and over again, rolling out settings and security changes to countless desktops ... the list goes on and on.

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What's all this talk about VDI and IOPS?

Posted by Chris Midgley on Feb 17, 2011

It often comes as a surprise that VDI demands on storage performance can be far greater than with server virtualization.  When you think about it, it's pretty easy to understand why... When you login to your laptop, the hard disk drive light is glowing. It's swamped delivering I/O for just one user.  So when we load 50 or 100 users per server, and more per storage array, it's no surprise that the I/O demands exceed the ability of the array to keep up.  So how is it that a SAN array with 16 drives can keep up with hundreds of users when a single disk is swamped for a single user?

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VDI here, there and everywhere ... or, how to deliver VDI to branch offices

Posted by Chris Midgley on Feb 9, 2011

There are many reasons why people find VDI an attractive alternative to traditional physical desktops and laptops.  One I hear of frequently is to improve the ability to manage desktops located in branch offices.  By having the desktop run in the data center (and using a protocol to deliver the experience to the user), it is easier to provision, patch and secure it.  And, a great side effect is that the desktop has much faster access to the back-office systems, sometimes a serious challenge for client-server applications over long distance networks. 

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How is Unidesk different than...?

Posted by Chris Midgley on Feb 1, 2011

Maybe the most common question I get is "How is Unidesk different than...".  For example, "How is Unidesk different than application virtualization?", "How is Unidesk different than dedupe?" or "How is Unidesk different than profile management"?  And of course, each of these has a different answer, especially when we are discussing the virtues of specific products.  But I believe that Unidesk has such a different technical approach that I thought I'd try to paint a broad landscape picture, at the risk of great oversimplification (my apologies in advance to the vendors of those great products, as I will not do them justice).

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Is deduplication an oxymoron? It is with VDI!

Posted by Chris Midgley on Mar 15, 2010

I’ve been thinking about deduplication recently. The very name strikes me as odd. De-duplication. Do something so that we can undo it. Create duplication, and then undo the duplication. Does that make deduplication an oxymoron? Here's what my dictionary says:

ox•y•mo•ron (noun) a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction to an incongruous, seemingly self-contradictory effect (as in “cruel kindness” or “to make haste slowly").

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Lost in the virtual desktop Bermuda Triangle

Posted by Chris Midgley on Nov 6, 2009

I recently met with a mid-market company that was just starting to look at virtual desktops to help reduce their desktop management costs, and we were talking about three of the critical barriers to VDI adoption: explosive storage costs; loss of users' applications and settings; and, expensive and complex management.

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Welcome Don Bulens, Unidesk CEO

Posted by Chris Midgley on Jun 1, 2009

When we started Unidesk at the end of 2007, we knew our core invention was unique and would solve a major market need. We also knew that to maximize our opportunity, we needed a world-class CEO. But to attract the best, we first had to build our technology, and validate our vision with customers. So, for the last 18 months, I’ve been both CTO and acting CEO, waiting for the day when we would begin our search. Earlier this year, we decided the time had come.

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Is Application Virtualization Really the Best Answer for Application Packaging, Management, and Delivery?

Posted by Chris Midgley on May 13, 2009

Application virtualization is a great example of how desktop management can be radically improved with virtualization technology. It works by isolating a single instance of an installed application into a package and automatically distributing that package to endpoints, often based on provisioning policy. The application is then run inside a protected “bubble” to isolate it from other applications. Imagine never having to worry about application conflicts, or patching thousands of end points! It's easy to see why so many enterprises are looking at application virtualization as their new method of application packaging and delivery.

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Which Desktop Virtualization Model is Best - VDI, Type 2, Type 1?

Posted by Chris Midgley on Apr 28, 2009

I’ve read a number of articles and blogs lately that tout one form of desktop virtualization infrastructure over another. Some say thin terminals running against desktops hosted on virtual server farms (VDI/HVD/CVD) is the most obvious solution. Why would you want the complexity of a desktop on the edge when you can centralize everything?

Others claim that the best solution is to run a desktop within a desktop – to use a “Type 2” hypervisor to host a secure corporate desktop within a less secure personal desktop. This lets me use my home computer at work (the “BYOC”, or Buy Your Own Computer model) even though my personal computer is untrusted.

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What Does Persistent Desktop Personalization Mean to You?

Posted by Chris Midgley on Apr 13, 2009

There's a lot of buzz in the desktop virtualization world around “Persistent Personalization.” But really, what is it? Clearly nobody wants to lose their work when their desktops are upgraded or patched, or when they need to switch machines (say, thin terminal to notebook). I think we can agree that if we could have our personalization isolated and preserved even when our desktops change, everybody would be happier. IT would be able to deliver the latest patches and applications without worrying about impacting user productivity, and end users would have the flexibility to really customize their desktops for competitive advantage.

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Celebrating the M3 Development Milestone

Posted by Chris Midgley on Feb 27, 2009

Several weeks ago, we hit our M3 product development milestone. It was a significant accomplishment integrating all of our virtual desktop management components, and being able to demonstrate the value of Composite VirtualizationTM from both the end user's and desktop administrator's perspectives. I'm extremely proud of how hard the company worked and how well our U.S. and India development teams collaborated to hit our most important engineering milestone to date on schedule.

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Final Thoughts on Unidesk's First Year

Posted by Chris Midgley on Dec 31, 2008

As Unidesk ends its first and only year as a stealth-mode software company and looks ahead to our launch in 2009, I'd like to thank our Unidesk Community members for the time and help they've given us. Their feedback in meetings, emails, and survey responses are resulting in a better product, and are helping us realize our mission to deliver the richest, most productive desktop for end users, and the lowest cost, easiest to manage desktop for IT.

Speaking of product, I'm pleased to report that round-the-clock global development on our unified desktop management software is going well, and we're on track to hit Milestone 3 (M3) in January. We'll be reaching out to some members of the Community in the coming weeks to setup in-person demos and discuss Beta.

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