Microsoft, RingCube Partner on Desktop Virtualization

RingCube's vDesk product is being integrated into Microsoft's System Center Configuration Manager 2007 server management offering. RingCube's vDesk is designed to enable IT administrators to more easily control the personal PCs used by "unmanaged workers," such as contractors, consultants, outsourced workers or temporary employees. RingCube also is joining the Microsoft System Center Alliance.

RingCube is bringing its desktop virtualization product to Microsoft's server management offering.

RingCube announced Dec. 14 that it is integrating its vDesk product into Microsoft's System Center Configuration Manager 2007, which will expand the server management software's capabilities to cover what RingCube officials called "unmanaged PCs"-those belonging to such workers as contractors, consultants, outsourced workers and temporary employees.

RingCube also is now a member of the Microsoft System Center Alliance.

"Workspace virtualization is driving down the cost of delivering and managing a corporate desktop for unmanaged workers without the performance and cost compromises found in many legacy virtualization approaches," Doug Dooley, vice president of marketing at RingCube, said in a statement.

Unmanaged workers tend to use their own PCs, although they often need a computing environment on a project-by-project basis. It is up to a company's IT staff to determine how to deal with these unmanaged PCs, according to RingCube. Through vDesk, IT administrators can remotely revoke these virtualized workspaces on the temporary worker's PC, a capability that offers greater data security than other products, the company said.

The virtualized workspace can be stored on a portable USB drive, on the unmanaged PC itself or on a network file. It encrypts the virtual workspace using a Microsoft virtual hard drive format; isolates apps, data and network traffic from the unmanaged PC; and links to the corporate domain as a separate computer that retains group policies.

vDesk also supports VPN (virtual private network) remote access and offers 99 percent of the performance of the host PC, according to RingCube.

The alliance with RingCube gives Microsoft users more alternatives when considering desktop virtualization technologies, according to J.D. Marymee, director of strategic partner alliances for Microsoft's Management and Services Division.

"Mutual customers will benefit from increased deployment options and desktop mobility solutions while using their existing Windows management infrastructure," Marymee said in a statement.

RingCube rolled out Version 2.1 of vDesk in August, giving businesses the ability to stream their desktop image from any NAS (network-attached storage) appliance or file server that supports the CIFS (Common Internet File System) protocol from a virtual hard drive (VHD) container.

RingCube also has aggressively partnered, including announcing an alliance in June with Sun Microsystems. As part of that partnership, Sun said it would integrate vDesk into its Sun Ray VDI technology.