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Virtual Computer Brings Optimized NxTop Client To Lenovo Enterprise PCs

The CEO of Virtual Computer says NxTop offers a cost-efficient, manageable alternative to VDI -- and Lenovo has the 'legendary' hardware to run it.

Virtual Computer and Lenovo on Tuesday said they will collaborate to optimize Virtual Computer's NxTop client virtualization software on Lenovo's business-oriented systems. NxTop brings virtualized management capabilities directly to end user systems -- in this case, select models of Lenovo's ThinkCentre A- and M-series desktops and ThinkPad T and X series laptops. In addition, Lenovo's Imaging and Technology Center will offer NxTop client virtualization loaded directly onto end user's custom images.

"We're working with Lenovo to optimize our version of client virtualization in order to give users the best experience possible on Lenovo hardware," said Dan McCall, CEO of Virtual Computer, in an interview with CRN. "We're working with Lenovo's engineering department to make things stronger, faster, and more reliable."

Virtual Computer says its collaboration with Lenovo is aimed at SMB and larger enterprise customers looking to manage and control their PCs more easily, while reducing costs. "The solution is not targeted at any one segment of the market," McCall said, "It's for SMBs as well as larger enterprises."

Lenovo says the collaboration is aimed at capturing the desktop virtualization market with a solution that takes advantage of performance enhancements to Lenovo's ThinkCentre and ThinkPad PCs. ’NxTop offers business customers a robust client virtualization solution that provides a market-leading desktop management console, while simultaneously maintaining the high performance standards that customers expect from their Lenovo ThinkCentre desktops and ThinkPad laptops,’ said Tom Tobul, vice president, Software and Peripherals Marketing at Lenovo, in a statement.

McCall said users running NxTop on Lenovo hardware can manage virtual machines locally and run copies of multiple operating systems at the same time, as if carrying two PCs. "We're moving the hypervisor from the data center out to the remote device," he said. "Whereas VDI offers centralized management and centralized execution, we're offering centralized management and distributed execution."

McCall said Virtual Computer's business model replaces virtualization solutions that run through a data center accessible to thin clients and dumb terminals, which are currently common in the market.

"A lot of big infrastructure providers have been offering that solution, and at Virtual Computer we agree that virtualizing the desktop is important," he said. "Virtualization provides a platform for managing that operating system, and a lot of benefits around management. Our company, our vision, is to take that paradigm and move it out to the end-point, rather than host virtual machines on a server, you can access them via thin clients running a hypervisor installed directly on to the hard drive."

Next: More On Virtual Computer's Model


Virtual Computer says its virtualization model is a more cost-efficient alternative to server-based Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), which hosts desktop operating systems within a VM running on a centralized server. "Keeping the computes at the end point where we already have them today is actually cheaper and more cost effective way to roll out a virtualization product," McCall said.

McCall said that while VDI products hit a performance wall because IT departments can't figure out how to scale the infrastructure to more users beyond a certain point, Virtual Computer's NxTop avoids that problem by scaling out to various PC form factors end-point devices. "Using a hypervisor, IT managers can provide a fully-managed PC with a service-level agreement and at the same time provide a locally-managed machine with all the benefits that come with that, to 'rich clients' or 'intelligent clients.'"

According to Virtual Computer, end users will be able to run multiple NxTop virtual machines (VMs) on Lenovo hardware, and access those VMs remotely -- without relying on Internet connectivity. McCall said business users will have the ability to optimize and change their operating system at will, while enjoying the benefits of a reliable operating system that runs all their applications. "NxTop offers improved up-time availability as well as recovery time," he said, "VDI can't really guarantee how long it will take to fix virtually managed systems, but we've changed that paradigm by offering virtualization and the end-point, enabling them to control every aspect of their systems.

McCall said NxTop emphasizes manageability, offering features such as fail-safe patching, allowing users to patch by going to a single location where all their hardware and the OS itself all look the same and the OS can come in and patch as needed. "A patch that runs on one machine is guaranteed to run on all the machines," McCall said. "As a result, our failure rate is zero percent, compared to five to ten percent for our competitors.'

Finally, McCall said NxTop running on Lenovo hardware offers self-paced migration for enterprise customers migrating to Windows 7. "By running versions of Windows 7 and previous Windows XP on the same PC concurrently, we're allowing users to try out new things, become comfortable with new operating systems, and migrate over at their own pace," he said.

As for other NxTop-compatible platforms, McCall said Intel's new vPro processors for the enterprise space, which launched Monday, and are already featured in Lenovo's latest updated ThinkPad PC model, will run a manageable IT ecosystem that leverages NxTop virtualization software.

NEXT: Lenovo's Virtualization Efforts


"Lenovo equipment is a very good place to run it on," he said. ""This effort with Lenovo is very much tied into the work of Lenovo, Virtual Computer, and Intel, whose new vPro platform is part of an intelligent client computing environment that's more reliable, more secure, and offers the best user experience for someone running a desktop."

McCall said there isn't anything customers can do with software unless the hardware is up to snuff, and that Lenovo's hardware passes that standard. "I think we all know there hardware is somewhat legendary for its reliability and the quality that's built into it," McCall said.

In addition, he said Lenovo has experience with its own Secured Managed Client desktop virtualization solution, connecting virtual machines over a network to a storage array. "So they have a high knowledge of the problem set we're working with and they could really appreciate the solution we're working with," he said. "What we were doing was interesting and valuable to their customers."

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