Desktop Virtualization Startup Wanova Leaps Into Channel

Wanova Mirage tackles the desktop management challenges many organizations are facing as they become more mobile. Mirage sits somewhere between client and server virtualization -- Wanova refers to it as "hybrid" desktop virtualization -- giving IT departments full control over endpoints while allowing users to customize their machines as they see fit. This last point has been a stickler for IT, which often finds itself enforcing draconian policies for mobile workers.

Michele Bovorac, vice president of marketing at Wanova, based in San Jose, Calif., says the company's key point of differentiation is providing desktop management and backup and PC continuity for customers with distributed mobile work forces. Wanova centralizes the entire content of each endpoint in the data center, making it easy for IT to manage, and its core IP is focused on moving data across a small pipe quickly and efficiently, according to Bovorac.

Desktop virtualization technologies work well with PCs or thin clients when there's unfettered access to high speed bandwidth. But traditional VDI and server-hosted virtualization technologies don’t work in many mobile scenarios, says Bovorac.

"Many enterprises have employees that are using laptops, and those individuals have much different requirements than traditional desktop users, such as the need to work offline, install their own apps, and access support," Bovorac said in an interview. "All of this costs organizations more money and are pain points that we've identified."

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Wanova launched in 2008 and began shipping products in March of this year, primarily to enterprise customers and MSPs. Now Wanova is looking to become more channel driven and is establishing anchor customers in a bid to expand its business footprint.

Howard Greenfield, Wanova's vice president of sales, says the program includes elements for distributors, resellers and MSPs. "We are looking for people with regional expertise in virtualization or PC desktop management, and people that have the capacity to provide installation and ongoing support services around Mirage," he said.

Distributors will resell Mirage within their territories and also handle tier one support for their customers, and traditional resellers will sell Mirage to their customers with Wanova handing support. MSPs can get margin from selling Mirage as well as from ongoing support services.

Robert Ross, CEO of Durable Data Corporation (DDC), an MSP based in San Antonio, Texas, has found Wanova to be a good fit. DDC, which uses a VMware driven architecture, has had trouble fitting traditional desktop management platforms into its business model, but Ross says Wanova Mirage has helped deal with the licensing and hypervisor requirements that can complicate VDI.

"It has given us a sustainable business model," Ross said. "We call it 'persistent personalization.' If a laptop breaks or the user loses it, they'll have a VDI image to access while the problem is being fixed."

In addition to the U.S., Wanova is focusing its partner recruitment efforts in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. The company currently has 7 channel partners and expects that to grow to double or triple this figure by the end of 2011, according to Greenfield.