Startup Wanova Launches Desktop Virtualization Platform

Wanova, which was founded in April 2008, is launching the company and unveiling its Distributed Desktop Virtualization architecture. Officials said the new architecture addresses the needs of both IT administrations, who want central management capabilities, and mobile end users, who are demanding a better desktop experience than they're getting from other offerings from solutions from the likes of VMware and Citrix as well as the ability to work offline.

A startup is introducing a new desktop virtualization architecture officials say gives businesses central management capabilities while offering users a full desktop experience.

Sixteen-month-old Wanova, which came out of stealth mode Aug. 19, is unveiling its DDV (Distributed Desktop Virtualization) architecture, which among other benefits lets users work offline.

A key focus of the company and its offering is the growing legions of mobile workers, said Issy Ben-Shaul, co-founder and CTO of Wanova.

"They need to be able to work offline," Ben-Shaul said in an interview, adding that they also need a full desktop experience.

Rather than put all of the desktop components in the data center-leaving only a thin-client like device at the endpoint-Wanova's DDV offers central management, but also the ability to run desktop workloads at the endpoints, he said.

Other vendors also are looking to strike a balance between the needs of the business and the end user. MokaFive in June unveiled MokaFive Suite 2.0, designed to let businesses roll out a secure desktop image but also let end users customize their desktops.

For central management, Wanova's DDV offers CVD (Centralized Virtual Desktop), which is housed in the data center. CVD holds the primary copy of the desktop image, which enables virtualization administrators to manage, edit, provision and update the image.

At the PC device-whether a desktop or notebook-is Wanova's DeskCache client, which gives users a complete desktop experience and enables them to run their workloads locally, Ben-Shaul said. This enables them to work offline and improves the performance over other desktop virtualization offerings, he said.

Wanova's DDO (Distributed Desktop Optimization) technology, which offers real-time, bi-directional transfers between the CVD and DeskCache, which means the central copy and the desktop image are always in synch.

Wanova's DDV brings together network optimization, the streaming of desktop images over the WAN and image layering capabilities to speed up the transport of desktop workloads.

The architecture enables quick reimaging of a desktop over the WAN in as short of time at 7 minutes, and to completely restore a PC over the WAN in 10 minutes. It also can quickly send a single desktop image to thousand of endpoints, Ben-Shaul said.

It also runs without the need of a hypervisor on the client, which reduces the complexity and management headaches that come with other desktop virtualization offerings, he said.

Jack Norris, vice president of marketing for Wanova, said another advantage is that while traditional VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) offerings can host 20 to 40 virtual desktops on a single physical server, Wanova's DDV can host as many as 1,000 virtual desktops on a server.

"That really changes the economics and dynamics," Norris said.

Chris Wolf, an analyst with The Burton Group, said Wanova's architecture shows promise. It offers the ability to stream virtual desktops to the endpoints with little overhead, enables users to work offline and the experience is transparent to users.

"On paper, this sounds very good," Wolf said. "We'll have to see how it does out in the wild."

He said there are businesses that have thousands of seats with desktop virtualization technologies from such vendors as VMware and Citrix Systems, but that desktop virtualization has yet to gain wide adoption, despite the promise of driving down operational and capital costs.

IT administrators are still trying to find solutions that offer clear TCO, and are waiting for offerings that are needed to support desktop virtualization environments, in such areas as storage, management and support, Wolfe said.

Both Ben-Shaul and Norris said the desktop virtualization market is a big one, noting that analyst firm Gartner has said the number of virtual desktops can grow from about 300,000 in 2008 to 50 million or more in 2013.

Be-Shaul said Wanova's DDV can not only compete with VDI solutions already on the market, but can complement a business' existing virtual desktop environment.

Wanova is launching with $13 million in A-round funding from Greylock Partners, Carmel Ventures and Opus Capital. The company has conducted a first round of trials for DDV over the past few weeks, and is looking to expand the trials.