Hewlett-Packard is looking to offer new virtualization software and services for those enterprises seeking to create a centralized infrastructure for managing a fleet of corporate clients. The HP Virtual Client Essentials software suite offers technology to enhance the video and graphics capabilities of HP's virtual desktop infrastructure offerings. The desktop virtualization also offers new support for thin-client PCs running Linux and added support for USB peripherals.
is expanding the capabilities of its virtual desktop infrastructure software suite
to include improved multimedia support for virtual clients as well as the
ability to use Linux and Microsoft
Windows with HP's own broker software.
On Dec. 8, HP released the new software suite, which the company now calls
the HP Virtual Client Essentials suite, which expands the company's ability to
offer a range of products and services for those enterprises looking to invest
in a virtual client infrastructure or VDI.
There are several benefits to creating a virtual desktop infrastructure
within an enterprise, including the ability to keep a company's critical data
in a centralized location in the data center. This type of infrastructure
offers a better way to secure the data, while allowing the IT department to
manage all the physical assets from one location.
At the same time, many businesses have been hesitant to invest in this type
of centralized infrastructure due to the overall cost of creating a VDI as well
as lingering concerns about delivering rich multimedia capabilities to desktops
or thin-client PCs from the data center.
However, many companies are looking to eliminate those concerns. Earlier
this month, VMware
released its new DVI suite, which offers better management capabilities
a lower cost. At the same time, IBM
has teamed with Virtual Bridges and Canonical
to offer what the company
calls a "Microsoft-free" virtual desktop infrastructure that uses Ubuntu Linux
as the main operating system.
Of all the companies that offer a VDI suite, HP is in a unique position. The
company offers not only traditional desktop and laptop PCs, but also blade
workstations, thin clients, server systems and other physical assets needed to
create the infrastructure. At the same time, HP has relationships with the
major virtualization vendors-VMware, Citrix and Microsoft-as well as the
ability to develop its own software.
With the Virtual Client Essentials, HP is looking to solve some of the
problems with delivering rich multimedia content, such as video, to desktops
that are part of a company's VDI. In addition to HP's own RGS
(Remote Graphics Software) protocol, the company is working with Microsoft to
improve the capabilities of its RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol), which is the
software that transfers data between the virtualized servers and the client
sitting on the user's desk.
In the past, when a number of users attempted to log on to a company's
virtual desktop infrastructure, the centralized protocol software could not
support the multimedia technologies that users needed, according to Manoj
Malhotra, a product marketing manager for HP's Client Virtualization group.
To solve this problem, Malhotra said, HP will begin shipping its version of
the Microsoft RDP with its thin-client PCs. This shifts the burden away from
the virtual server and moves it to the client itself. For example, video is now
decoded on the client itself, and it also allows the end user to use USB
devices with his or her own client.
"The minute the server encounters a multimedia screen, instead of using its
own CPU, it will identify that multimedia screen without decoding it and send
that multimedia screen to the thin client and let the thin client decode it for
the end user," said Malhotra.
While RDS will handle what the majority of employees need in terms of
multimedia, the HP RGS will help handle the
types of multimedia and three-dimensional technology needed for CAD (computer-aided
design) workers who use hardware such as blade workstations and multiple
At the same time, HP has expanded its HP SAM
(Session Allocation Manager)-the software that works as the session broker for
remote clients-to support both Microsoft Windows and Linux. HP also enhanced
its SAM software to include session timers
that tell IT when a client is no longer using resources and can automatically
shut down those compute resources.
HP will start shipping its RDP and enhanced SAM
software for Windows-based clients in January and then ship the suite for
Linux-based clients in the first quarter of 2009. HP will also allow for
customers using older HP thin clients to download the RDP software for free.
While the upgraded RDP software is free, HP is charging $35 for a floating
license for its RGS software. The price
jumps to $199 for the RGS license for an HP