The "Cammy" Award for Best Virtual Desktop Video Demo

[WP_IMAGE] As part of my preparation for the Citrix Synergy conference in San Francisco, I brushed up on different virtual desktop technologies. Part of this exercise involved watching the short online videos that Citrix, Microsoft and VMware use as part of their product pitch to the outside world. After seeing these

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As part of my preparation for the Citrix Synergy conference in San Francisco, I brushed up on different virtual desktop technologies. Part of this exercise involved watching the short online videos that Citrix, Microsoft and VMware use as part of their product pitch to the outside world. After seeing these clips in a group, I decided to initiate a new award, called the "Cammy."

As an award bonus, I conclude with a brief analysis of what these videos show and how they can be useful to IT managers.

Here's my judging criteria. The video had to clearly explain business benefit and the product's underlying technology. The clip needed to make effective use of static and animated graphics. The storyline needed to have an obvious beginning and ending. Finally, I needed to feel that I knew how the product worked at the end of the video.

The winner, hands down, was Citrix with "Understanding the Desktop Virtualization TCO." I should say that winning has no implication about the quality of the underlying product, XenDesktop. However, the video did a good job of explaining XenDesktop. The chalkboard motif, with an always moving piece of chalk whipping up illustrations was used to good effect, combining effective still and animated graphics with flair. In keeping with Citrix style, the video took a shot at unnamed competitors, showing competitor methods in a jumble. On the downside, the Citrix didn't have subtitles.

Second place goes to Microsoft and the ungainly titled "Windows XP Mode and Windows Virtual PC." The video used highly produced (a lot of slow rotation, zooming, "whooshing" and "ding" sound effects) simulations of Windows XP mode at work in Windows 7 using Windows Virtual PC. Whew, that's a mouthful for anyone to explain. The Microsoft crew needed every one of their video gimmicks to demonstrate that IT managers shouldn't let older apps that only run on Windows XP stop them from migrating to Windows 7. Again, the downside was no subtitles. Also, the demo requires Silverlight.

Market leader VMware came in last with "See What's New in VMware View 4.5." I'll remind you, gentle reader, that the quality of the video has no relationship with about the quality of the product. This video was long on words moving around the screen and short on effective product demonstration. The words swing and tilt and slide to such an extent that the momentary appearance of VMware's rather mundane animated graphics are a relief similar to a railing grasped by a seasick passenger. This video, which has more words on the screen than the other two combined, does have subtitles.

WHAT THESE VIDEOS SHOW The first thing these videos showed is that there is more than one way to combine an operating system and various applications. Citrix showed how the operating systems and the application are combined on demand. VMware showed the operating system and apps in a bundle, although VMware also has a method for composing desktops dynamically. Microsoft made the case for migrating to Windows 7 as the best way to run applications designed for Windows XP. There are debates about the merits of all of these methods, but if you're looking for a 10-minute glimpse into some of the most promising ways to extend the benefits of virtualization to the desktop, you'd be hard pressed to beat the videos I watched today.

See the videos here: Citrix XenDesktop 5

Microsoft Windows XP Mode and Windows Virtual PC

VMware View 4.5