Startup Unidesk on Monday introduced technology it said will ease the management and deployment of virtual desktop environments.
The Unidesk 1.0 management platform virtualizes the drivers, patches, and other parts of the virtual desktop infrastructure, or VDI, as a virtual desktop PC is booted up, making it easier to offer users the kind of performance and personalization they are used to with legacy PCs, said Don Bulens, CEO of the Marlborough, Mass.-based company.
Unidesk 1.0 includes what the company calls composite virtualization, which separates users' Windows operating systems and patches and applications into individual layers, Bulens said.
At the operating system and patch layer, Unidesk 1.0 allows administrators to virtualize users' drivers, patches, and other components so that when they log on, they receive their familiar desktop feel, Bulens said.
Composite virtualization also makes sure users have access to their companies' and their own applications as if they were working on a legacy PC, he said.
Unidesk 1.0 also includes CacheCloud, a feature that distributes the layering technology across the virtualized environment. CacheCloud enables multiple users to work with a single virtual desktop image, including the Windows operating system and users' applications, to reduce the amount of storage capacity required for those images, he said.
The need to manage VDI infrastructure and user images is important for speeding up the acceptance of VDI by businesses, Bulens said.
"Desktop virtualization has been incredibly hyped over the years," he said. "But actual adoption has been slow. Much of the market has been stalled at pilot and proof-of-concept installations. Microsoft has only recently focused on the market. And VMware says it has over 8,000 customers with over 1 million seats installed. That's just over 100 clients per installation."
Unidesk 1.0 is currently available for use in VMware VDI environments. Pricing starts at $150 per named user, and falls as volume increases.
Unidesk plans a 100 percent channel strategy for its management software, and has already signed up some of VMware's biggest solution providers as partners, Bulens said.
The company is currently recruiting a limited number of channel partners, and will slowly expand its partner base in order to ensure it can offer them full support, he said. Unidesk will offer a variety of training, tools, and best practice information, and will eventually offer a certification program, he said.
The company also requires channel partners to install the software in their own labs before starting to sell it, Bulens said. "If they can't run it internally, it'll be hard for them to take it to customers," he said.