Desktop virtualization vendor Kaviza has carved out a name for itself among IT experts with VDI-in-a-box, a virtual desktop appliance that runs on any server with local storage. In version 4.1, released Wednesday, Kaviza has added bells and whistles that make life easier for VDI users.
VDI-in-a-box features support for Citrix Systems' HDX protocol, which optimizes graphics and multimedia performance on virtual desktops and mobile devices. The idea, according to Kaviza COO Krishna Subramanian, is to enables virtual desktops to function more like real ones.
It’s the same version of HDX that Citrix offers in XenDesktop 5.0, Subramanian said in an interview. "User experience is a key component of virtual desktops, and HDX gives you a very consistent, high definition user experience," she said.
Another new feature, HDX remote access, works with the Citrix Access Gateway VPN to provide secure single sign on to virtual desktops for employees using iPads and other mobile devices while on the road, said Subramanian.
VDI-in-a-box 4.1 also comes with built-in user profile management, which allows administrations to create pools of virtual desktops to cut down management costs. This could, for example, allow administrators to create a single master image for all employees in an accounting department, complete with personalized desktop and settings, Subramanian said.
VDI is no walk in the park when it comes to deployment complexity, and Kaviza's approach is to remove the headaches and bring the technology within reach of small and medium businesses. For this, Kaviza relies on its patent-pending Shared Nothing grid architecture, which allows virtual desktops to be provisioned and managed in a single virtual appliance running on commodity servers.
"You can scale by adding more servers. It's a Lego block concept for virtual desktops," Subramanian said. "Our VDI architecture doesn't require an extensive data center footprint, and there's no shared storage, separate management servers or experts needed to put it together."
Kaviza's VDI solution is protocol independent and runs on VMware and Citrix XenServer, and will support Hyper-V "shortly," said Subramanian.
Kaviza is licensed for concurrent users and priced at $150 per user for a perpetual license, and all that's needed after that is a server and a Windows virtual desktop license. Subramanian estimates that for $400 per user, a customer can get everything they need to deploy VDI using VDI-in-a-box.
Kaviza, based in Cupertino, Calif., does about two-thirds of its business through channel partners. Prospective customers and partners can now download a free trial of VDI-in-a-box to see if Kaviza does, in fact, remove the pain and suffering from VDI.