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NComputing Rolls Out Windows Desktop Virtualization Client

NComputing today announced new client software for desktop virtualization called "vSpace Client for Windows."

vSpace client is software that can run on older PCs or thin-client devices while using virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) technology to tap application processing on the server side. The client software works with NComputing's "vSpace Server" running Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows 7 on the back end. The server can be managed by customers or by NComputing's channel partners.

Redwood City, Calif.-based NComputing, a Microsoft Certified Gold partner, is targeting midmarket organizations and educational institutions with its desktop virtualization solutions, although the company supports organizations of all sizes. What's more, NComputing claims to bring together a simple, centralized solution using VDI that's affordable.

"People think of VDI as expensive, but we have the proof that it can be carried out in an affordable way," said Simon Pearce, senior vice president of worldwide sales at NComputing, in a phone briefing. "It's simple, very affordable and it's powerful."

NComputing claims its desktop virtualization solutions can address a few pain points for IT organizations. For instance, IT pros get centralized control of applications. IT departments stuck in the transition from moving from Windows XP to Windows 7 can use VDI, which delivers a Windows 7-like experience to the end user, despite running off Windows Server 2008 R2. Old PCs, even those that are about five years old, can be repurposed as thin clients, according to Pearce.

The company's VDI solutions also account for the licensing.

"Licensing is an important element of this," said Raj Dhingra, CEO at NComputing, in the phone interview. "I think Microsoft, over the last 12 to 18 months, has clarified this considerably compared to how things were a few years ago. In our case, people can leverage what are called 'RDS CALS,' Remote Desktop Services Client Access Licenses. If you are doing the one-to-one VDI, then you really need those VDA [Virtual Desktop Access] CALs, which tend to be more expensive. And then there are subscriptions compared to RDS CALs that are actually a perpetual license you use one time."

Dhingra contended that NComputing offers a lower cost solution than traditional VDI by owning the technology from end to end, while addressing licensing too.

"We deliver an instant ROI or fast ROI -- and that includes the cost of Microsoft licensing," Dhingra said. "We have about 50,000 customers worldwide. Last year, we crossed three million seats deployed worldwide." He added that NComputing is a global company but it has the No. 1 marketshare in Asia and Latin America in terms of desktop virtualization.

vSpace client interface
[Click on image for larger view.]
The vSpace client interface for connecting to vSpace Server.

NComputing also sees its VDI technology and vSpace client as a good fit for addressing mobile user scenarios for anywhere access. The solution also supports bring-your-own-device (BYOD) scenarios for workplaces. Dhingra said that NComputing is currently working to enable its vSpace client on Android and iOS devices too.

NComputing uses its own protocol, called "User Experience Protocol" (UXP), for the remote desktop connection. The vSpace client can run a large number of applications except for those, such as three-dimensional graphics programs, that are used on high-end workstations, which is "not a good candidate for VDI," according to Dhingra.

Dhingra said that NComputing is currently looking at partnering with Microsoft on Microsoft's RemoteFX technology. Microsoft claims that its RemoteFX technology for Windows Server 2008 R2 is capable of running three-dimensional CAD-type applications via VDI.

NComputing's VDI solution can support up to 100 user sessions on one hosting device, which can be either a PC or server. The vSpace client, which is currently available, has been tested at "more than 1,000 customer sites," according to NComputing's announcement.

The vSpace client is free, but NComputing charges for concurrent access to vSpace Server, with prices starting at "$499 for a 5-user license." NComputing and its partners also offer volume discounts.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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