Liquidware Labs Taps VDI, Data Center Vet As New CTO


Desktop virtualization vendor Liquidware Labs has brought in an industry executive who has spent much of his career working on products involving multi-user environments that are centrally hosted in the data center.

On Wednesday, Liquidware Labs named Jason Mattox as its new CTO. Mattox brings more than 15 years of experience with technologies including Windows Server, IGC MultiNode, MaxSpeed MaxStations, Windows Terminal Server and various Citrix server-based computing offerings.

As a co-founder of Vizioncore, which was acquired by Quest Software in 2008, Mattox created vRanger, software for backup and recovery of data in virtual server environments.

At Liquidware Labs, based in Alpharetta, Ga., Mattox will guide development of Stratusphere, the company's virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) planning and user experience monitoring tools; and ProfileUnity, which handles migration of Windows native user data to Citrix XenDesktop, VMware View, and Windows 7 environments.

The concepts behind these products aren't new to Mattox, who has made a career out of tackling these challenges. "A lot of the knowledge and experience I've gained in the past applies to now," Mattox said in an interview. "Things have almost come full circle, and VDI is definitely back to consolidating users in the data center."

Much of the heavy lifting in VDI involves planning for the move from physical PCs to virtual ones, but once they've deployed VDI, companies need to keep close tabs on how the virtual environment is scaling. This last part is important because a bad VDI experience can cause howls of protest within a company's employee base and erode confidence in the technology.

Mattox says Stratusphere gives a view into the number of I/O operations that an organizations applications and desktops are consuming, which removes the guesswork from scaling a VDI deployment. Some VDI deployments can take two to five years depending on the number of desktops, and Stratusphere enables organizations to continue monitoring I/O operations over time.

"This is one of the big challenges with VDI. The problem is that everyone has their own hard drives, and so when they're centralized that can lead to capacity problems," Mattox said.

ProfileUnity is a user state virtualization product that handles migration of user and workspace settings from non persistent desktop images. This, too, is an important technology for companies that aren’t planning to move all of their desktops to VDI right away, as it allows employees' user settings and personal workspaces to be moved easily within virtualized desktop environments, and saves time by eliminating the manual copying of files in desktop migrations.

User state virtualization is a hot technology at the moment because it involves a level of specialization that larger vendors have yet to attain. VMware in February 2010 acquired RTO Software and is integrating it into VMware View. Goldman Sachs in February invested $70 million in AppSense, a 12 year old company that also targets these migrations challenges.

Mattox says Liquidware Labs is well positioned to compete in this segment because it tackles VDI challenges from multiple angles.

"We're in a unique space by providing that user experience monitoring and scaling on one side, and the user state virtualization on the other," Mattox said. "We're trying to assess what you need to get to VDI, and once you're there, how to maintain an experience that users will find acceptable."