Unidesk Enhances Unified VDI Management Platform, Adds Support for VMware Horizon 6.0

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New release enables IT organizations to easily create and manage large numbers of Microsoft Windows® desktops in the cloud.

Unidesk desktop layering software simplifies Windows management and VDI

With Unidesk and VMware, we’ve found the recipe for VDI that’s straightforward and easy to manage. As more of our 6,000 desktops become virtualized, operations are becoming more streamlined and we’re seeing the cost benefit we expected.

Unidesk today announced a new release of its industry-leading Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) management software, with scalability improvements that enable IT organizations to easily create and manage large numbers of Microsoft Windows® desktops in the cloud. Unidesk® 2.6 also supports the newly announced VMware Horizon™ 6 and its three editions -- View Standard, Advanced and Enterprise. Interoperability with View Persona in VMware Horizon 6, VMware Virtual SAN™ and VMware ThinApp® offers enhanced simplicity and flexibility for the 600 customers who are using Unidesk with VMware Horizon View™. Organizations now have more reasons to use Unidesk’s unified VDI management platform to provision desktops, virtualize applications, control image drift, support user personalization and reduce VDI storage needs.

“Our dream was that virtual desktops would be easier to operate than physical PCs, but in the past we found we were just trading off one set of cost and complexity for another,” said Jon Walton, Chief Information Officer, County of San Mateo, California. “With Unidesk and VMware, we’ve found the recipe for VDI that’s straightforward and easy to manage. As more of our 6,000 desktops become virtualized, operations are becoming more streamlined and we’re seeing the cost benefit we expected.”

Scalability, Performance, and Windows Server 2008 Client Support

Unidesk is transforming the management of Windows desktops in the cloud with its innovative desktop layering technology. The ability to virtualize any application in minutes, manage a single Windows image for all desktops, and offer a no-compromise, fully persistent user experience with minimal storage is giving organizations the confidence to deploy virtual desktops at greater scale. Unidesk 2.6 includes optimizations that significantly increase the speed of managing thousands of desktops and hundreds of layers. Rebuilding desktops, adding and removing layers, applying patches, filtering views, and searching large Active Directory and LDAP structures are now up to five times faster.

Unidesk is also adding support for Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 64-bit Data Center Edition as a desktop operating system. IT organizations and Desktop as a Service (DaaS) providers can now package Windows Server 2008 as a Unidesk OS layer, and use the Microsoft Desktop Experience feature to make the desktop look and feel like Windows 7. This gives customers greater flexibility in how to license VDI deployments using Microsoft Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) subscriptions or the Remote Desktop Services Client Access License (RDS-CAL).

VMware Horizon with View Persona and Unidesk

Unidesk 2.6 will offer enhanced support for View Persona in VMware Horizon 6 to allow for granular control over user-specific data and desktop settings. Customers who do not want to sustain all user customizations with Unidesk’s storage-efficient persistent desktops can now provision non-persistent desktops with Unidesk and use View Persona to retain profile changes. User-specific data and desktop settings, application data and settings, and Windows registry entries configured by user applications are all preserved. View Persona can also share user profiles across standalone systems to provide a consistent user experience for both Unidesk-provisioned virtual desktops and physical PCs.

VMware Virtual SAN and Unidesk

Unidesk creates virtual desktops on any storage supported by VMware vSphere®, including VMware Virtual SAN. The combination of Unidesk and VMware Virtual SAN enables IT administrators to automate desktop provisioning while simplifying storage operations and reducing storage costs for desktop workloads. Unidesk takes advantage of the read/write cache in VMware Virtual SAN to deliver high storage performance by accelerating desktop I/O. VMware Virtual SAN leverages server-side flash memory as both a write buffer and a read cache. The read cache keeps a list of commonly accessed disk blocks. Because Unidesk’s Windows OS and application layers are stored as VMDKs and shared by many desktops, these commonly accessed layers remain in the read cache, reducing I/O read latency and boosting desktop performance.

VMware ThinApp and Unidesk

Unidesk and VMware ThinApp together provide comprehensive delivery of Windows applications. Unidesk makes it easy to virtualize applications as independent layers so they can be assigned to virtual desktops and updated without ever having to be physically installed. Using patented file system and registry virtualization technology, Unidesk enables layered applications to cross-communicate and interoperate with each other and with Windows as if they were natively installed. Some applications, however, must be isolated to run correctly in VDI environments. VMware ThinApp eliminates application conflicts by isolating applications from each other and the underlying OS into a single executable file. These ThinApp files can easily be packaged as Unidesk application layers for automated deployment to any number of virtual desktops. The other lifecycle management benefits of Unidesk layered application delivery also apply to ThinApp packages, including revocation, patching, versioning, rollback, auditing, reporting, and single instance storage.

“Unidesk layering technology will bring management simplicity to VMware Horizon 6 deployments," said Courtney Burry, director, Marketing, End-User Computing, VMware. "Working with Unidesk, we’re better able to extend the power of virtualization from the datacenter to client devices. The new points of interoperability between Unidesk and VMware Horizon 6 will enable us to expand the best-in-class services and solutions we offer to our customers.”

Unidesk 2.6 is expected to be generally available in Q2, 2014.

“With this new release of Unidesk, we continue to set the standard for layered image and application management for desktops in the cloud,” said Tom Rose, Unidesk Chief Marketing Officer. “Windows resources need to be accessible through any device and managed with greater efficiency. Our enhanced support for VMware Horizon 6 will make Unidesk and VMware Horizon an easy and powerful one-two punch for simple, low-cost desktop virtualization.”

About Unidesk Corporation

Unidesk virtual desktop management software makes Microsoft Windows® a cloud utility. Unidesk’s patented desktop layering technology enables lean IT organizations to effortlessly deliver applications, manage images, sustain user customizations, and optimize storage for desktops virtualized on VMware vSphere®. Hundreds of Citrix XenDesktop® and VMware Horizon View™ customers use Unidesk to make VDI provisioning and Windows management elegantly simple. Unidesk is a privately held company headquartered in Marlborough, Mass., with authorized solution partners around the world. For more information, visit http://www.unidesk.com.

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Unidesk is a registered trademark of Unidesk Corporation and VMware ThinApp, Virtual SAN, vSphere and VMware Horizon are registered trademarks or trademarks of VMware, Inc. in the United States and other jurisdictions. All other trademarks and registered trademarks are property of their respective owners. The use of the word “partner” or “partnership” does not imply a legal partnership relationship between VMware and any other company.

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Andrew Nadeau
since: 01/2011
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