NComputing Adds Web Management, Seeks Larger Virtual Deployments5:50 PM EST Thu. Dec. 13, 2012
Desktop virtualization vendor NComputing is best known for thin client hardware, but it is now trying to show that its virtualization software isn't too shabby either.
Earlier this month, NComputing released vSpace Server 7, the latest update to its virtual desktop software. The key addition is a Web-based management console, called vSpace Management Center, which significantly boosts NComputing's user capacity compared to previous versions.
NComputing's vSpace software uses the vendor's proprietary User eXtension Protocol (UXP), as well as its hardware and software clients, to deliver virtual Windows and Linux desktops. Where previous versions of vSpace Server could only be managed on a per-instance basis, NComputing can now manage multiple instances of vSpace Server collectively, as a single entity.
Since each instance of vSpace can handle up to 100 virtual desktop users, the extra management capacity could make NComputing an option to a wider range of organizations, Mike Pagani, senior director of product marketing, said in an interview.
"This opens us up to bigger deployments," Pagani told CRN.
Adding extra capacity to vSpace and making it easier to manage is part of NComputing's push to establish itself as a mainstream virtualization player. Already well-established in the education space, NComputing is looking to expand its reach into small and medium-sized businesses.
NComputing has made some progress toward this goal: It currently has some 4 million seats deployed around the world, including some customers with tens of thousands of customers, according to Pagani.
"People have seen us as a thin client vendor targeting education [customers]. We're now using this as a springboard for a broader category of virtualization," Pagani told CRN. "It's not just the devices we've made, but what you can do with the software that can be put on the server to handle centralized management of Windows and apps."
NComputing is also going after the enterprise through a technology partnership with Citrix, which combines its Numo system-on-a-chip technology with HDX, a Citrix technology that optimizes graphics and multimedia performance on virtual desktops and mobile devices.
NEXT: Accounting For Windows Licensing Terms
NComputing added support for Windows devices in April and is currently running a beta for Android. Of course, there are licensing considerations when multiple users within an organization are sharing a single copy of Windows, and NComputing's Pagani said the company uses a two-pronged strategy.
For education customers, NComputing uses the academic edition of Windows MultiPoint Server, which uses Remote Desktop Services and permits a single version of the OS to be shared amongst users. NComputing runs vSpace Server on top to handle connection management and desktop provisioning.
Pagani described the Windows MultiPoint Server setup as "a shared slice of one copy of Windows" in which each partition is licensed individually. "There is still a Windows CAL involved," he said.
In selling to other markets, NComputing uses Windows Server 2008 with vSpace Server and the NXP protocol. In this licensing model, costs are pegged to the number of sessions, Pagani said.
When customers buy one of NComputing's thin clients -- the vendor offers three of its own and one optimized for Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp -- they get a licensed seat of vSpace that is tied to that piece of hardware. NComputing charges $99 for its software client that's used with Windows PCs.
NComputing is also rolling out a premium support and services package for $25 per year that gives customers access to software updates and upgrades, Web resources and dedicated vSpace support engineers, and it will be sold by channel partners.
PUBLISHED DEC. 13, 2012