RingCube Takes On VMware, Citrix in Desktop Virtualization

RingCube is unveiling vDesk 2.0, the latest version of its desktop virtualization product. A key new offering within vDesk 2.0 is the Workspace Virtualization Engine, which is designed to make it easier for enterprises to manage, deploy and secure their desktop virtualization environments. It also is a key differentiator for RingCube in a competitive space that includes VMware and Citrix, RingCube officials say.

RingCube Technologies is rolling out the next generation of its vDesk desktop virtualization technology, including a new feature designed to improve the manageability and security around the offering.

RingCube's vDesk 2.0, announced May 1, includes the company's WVE (Workspace Virtualization Engine), which company officials say is a key differentiator in a highly competitive field that includes such companies as VMware and Citrix Systems.

It also comes the same week that Quest Software, at the Microsoft Management Summit in Las Vegas, announced it was integrating its Quest vWorkspace virtual desktop management offering with Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager and Microsoft App-V (Application Virtualization) technology.

Doug Dooley, vice president of product management at RingCube, said the company is looking to separate itself from other vendors in the desktop virtualization space by coming out with solutions that don't require a lot of upfront costs or require a lot of duplicate Windows licenses.

VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) solutions require high upfront costs-sometimes in the millions of dollars-and they bring with them more storage and power and cooling expenses, Dooley said. By comparison, a vDesk solution for 2,500 users runs around $500,000, he said.

In addition, mobility is an issue with VDI, Dooley said.

An eWEEK Labs analyst says there's no need to rush into VDI.

RingCube's vDesk offering is designed to enable enterprise users to put the technology on their work PCs or on unmanaged systems, such as their home computers. When they turn on vDesk, it gives them a personalized virtual workspace, complete with their own settings, files, applications and desktop, Dooley said. The company's MobileSync technology then lets users synchronize their vDesk workspace between PCs, USB drives or other portable media, a network file share or VDI environments.

RingCube's WVE in vDesk 2.0 offers what Dooley called a lightweight virtual desktop, with an isolated network stack and support for such applications as endpoint security, databases and PC management software, which require drivers and security services.

Among the components of WVE are vDeskNet, which enables virtual networking by separating and isolating network traffic from the host PC, and virtual user management, which gives the virtual workspace a unique set of user accounts separate from the host PC.

The Virtual Security Store offers a separate storage area within the virtual workspace for such items as certificates, and Virtual Windows Services offer improve application isolation from the host machine.

Other security and isolation controls in vDesk 2.0 come through virtual workspace encryption though integration with third-party software, as well as a virtual networking stack that isolates all network traffic inside the virtual workspace from the host system.

The goal is to give users an easier and more secure way to run a virtual desktop environment, Dooley said.

"This thing is not the hardest thing to get your arms around as far as deployment is concerned," he said.

The vDesk solution also offers improved management enabling enterprises to create single workspace, then give employees their own version of that master copy. There is also a more streamlined log-in process.

Dooley said businesses are beginning to take a hard look at desktop virtualization solutions, driving in large part by the need to reduce operating and capital costs and to improve business continuity.

"It's so early in the [desktop virtualization space]," he said. "We are where we were with server virtualization five years ago."

Dooley said he expects interest in desktop virtualization to grow, and sees Microsoft's upcoming introduction of Windows 7 as a driver to get enterprises thinking more about their desktop environments.

"I don't think people are going to stay on the status quo forever," he said.

RingCube's vDesk 2.0 is available immediately, staring at $200 per user. RingCube also will be showcasing the new offering at the Citrix Synergy show May 5-6 in Las Vegas.