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August 24, 2009

Wanova readies desktop virtualisation option

Start up develops alternative to VMware and Citrix

By CBR Staff Writer

Early-stage software house Wanova Inc is that latest vendor to make a play for the emerging desktop virtualisation market with software designed from the ground up to overcome some of the challenges associated with remote and mobile desktops.

Its Distributed Desktop Virtualisation (DDV) architecture combines desktop streaming over the WAN, network and storage deduplication, and desktop-caching techniques in a way that helps optimise data transfer over the network.

It should enable administrators to perform centralised management tasks without concern for network latency or utilisation, the company said as it announced a $13 million funding round from Greylock Partners, Carmel Ventures and Opus Capital.

Optimisation technologies, coupled with pre-fetching and streaming of content on demand is said to make for exceptionally high performance.

The system is capable of restoring a complete desktop over the WAN, and will re-image a remote endpoint in minutes.

The San Jose, California-based start-up, which is readying a release for early next year, is positioned in a niche that could quickly expand into an important market segment, with Gartner predicting that licenses for hosted virtual desktops could reach 50 million by 2013.

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Wanova which is barely 18 months in business and came out of stealth mode just last week, claims its DDV system can host as many as 1,000 virtual desktops on a single physical server.

Ewen Anderson, MD at Centralis, a consultancy that specialises in desktop virtualisation said, “On paper the solution clearly ticks a number of critical boxes – central standards, image broadcast and update over the WAN, no client-side hypervisor, offline working and thousands of users per server. Quite how this translates into real-world performance and product will be interesting.”

Wanova said DDV centralises the entire desktop contents in the data centre for management and protection purposes, while distributing the execution of desktop workloads to the endpoints.

The centralised virtual desktop is an individually identified and managed logical entity that represents the content of a user’s entire desktop, including the OS, applications, configuration, and user data.

Execution is performed directly on the endpoint hardware using a local cache, DeskCache, with no need to install a hypervisor. Interestingly, DeskCache provides offline support.

Distributed desktop optimisation technology allows real-time, bi-directional transfers between the DeskCache and the centralised desktop. This means a fast restore, even across different hardware devices and virtual machines with complete operational integrity and device driver support.

“Despite its promises, adoption of desktop virtualization has been limited, largely due to the constraints of today’s point solutions. The problem can’t be solved solely by targeting the client, the server or even the WAN,” said Issy Ben-Shaul, CTO, as the product was announced. 

“Our virtualisation architecture offers a new approach that integrates all three components – IT managers get powerful centralised management and control, the network is utilised efficiently, and remote workers get the performance they expect.

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