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Some technologies are like ladies' fashions; if you wait long enough, they eventually come back in style. The phenomenon is seen today with the current upswing of the virtual desktop. Introduced by IBM in the 1960s, virtualization has popped up in various forms over the decades, only to fade away like a pair of old jeans.
Since virtualization's 1999 implementation by VMware on x86 systems, processor makers have continued to increase the speed and power of their parts, leading to increases in server density and a rapid consolidation of the data center. In this fertile ground, virtualization and its cloud-computing cousin have matured from niche technologies to widespread infrastructure relied upon by millions.
The capability to quickly and easily virtualize just about any operating environment has renewed the interest of Enterprise IT departments to centrally manage the desktop, and number of off-the-shelf solutions can be sold for a relatively small up-front cost plus monthly maintenance.
One example is the SmartStyle Architecture from Zenith Infotech. This node-based private cloud employs one or more server nodes that virtualize the client operating system for IP-based delivery to new or existing client nodes. Benefits include remote control, centralized administration and real-time backup. Up front costs to the reseller total around $2,000, and per-user recurring revenues can be whatever the market will bear. Options include server redundancy, remote administration and centralized data snapshot.
For building a private VDI for a small office or department, Hewlett Packard offers solutions that include its ProLiant ML-350 dual-Xeon server running VMware ESXi Server 4.1 along with an 64-bit Atom-based t5740 Thin Client. With this HP solution, resellers have the flexibility to deploy one or a combination of session-broker clients from Microsoft (RDP), Citrix (XenDesktop), VMware (VMware View), or HP's own TeemTalk terminal emulation client for accessing legacy platforms. Server options include stand-alone, blade or rack-mount hardware, each with the usual complement of fail-over and backup options.