Symantec Unveils Virtual Desktop

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2008-08-05 Print this article Print

Symantec's virtual workspace offering will let enterprise users take their business desktops with them wherever they go. The technology comes from nSuite, which Symantec is buying.

Symantec has a new take on the virtualized desktop that should catch some attention from enterprise and mid-range companies, although it really doesn't yet have a specific product name.

Describing it only as a "virtualized workspace," Symantec officials Aug. 5 announced that they will soon make available a new endpoint virtualization software platform that allows enterprise users to take their personal business desktop, all the applications they use, and all their stored data with them wherever they go.

This is different from a conventional virtual desktop because the resources are aggregated from several different locales, regardless of geography. Local applications already in use on the connected workstation or laptop can also be utilized, thanks to separate layers of virtualization software.

Standard virtualized desktops are usually connected to one local or remote server system and are limited to the resources on that single server or server farm.

Symantec, whose heritage is rooted in data security through the Norton brand, also includes full protection for the user for the data, applications and operating systems used in each instance. The virtualized workspaces can be customized on the back end for individual users; administrators can control access policies.

The user's location becomes irrelevant, as long as he or she has Internet connectivity.

"We are basically separating information from the operating system and applications, thereby improving user productivity while lowering IT cost," Ken Berryman, Symantec vice president of endpoint virtualization, told me.

The new software package includes a portfolio of software delivery tools, including on-demand application streaming, SAAS (software-as-a-service) enablement and traditional software deployment, from which customers can choose the best fit for their unique computing requirements, Berryman said.

The recent acquisition of nSuite Technologies, a privately held virtual workspace management company, enables this technology. The deal is expected to close this month.

An example of how this works would be this: A doctor in a hospital stops at a connected terminal, uses his fingerprint or password to gain access to the system and checks a patient's health records. The doctor then logs out. Later, the doctor moves to another floor, checks in again and picks up "exactly to the keystroke" of where he or she left off during the previous session.

The desktop, data, applications--everything--is still running exactly as it had been during the previous session, whether it was five hours or five minutes ago. The virtualized workspace can be accessed by a stand-alone terminal, a desktop or laptop computer or a handheld device.

"Connection broker technology is the key to dynamically allocating traditional and virtual computing resources like information, user profiles and applications to the endpoint regardless of device," Berryman said.  "Presentation virtualization allows users to view and interact with applications running remotely on a server, as if they are running on their local computing device."

The new technology portfolio will allow rapid provisioning of anything from traditional desktops to full virtual desktops, while Symantec's existing streaming and virtualization products dynamically build the workspace on demand for the user, Berryman said. 

More information can be found here.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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