Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) has faced plenty of challenges: complexity, high cost, heavy server and storage requirements, and end-user dissatisfaction, to list the common complaints. But VDI has also delivered plenty of innovation and experimentation, with vendors taking a variety of approaches to lower the hurdles to implementation, ease the management burden, and address a fuller range of user needs.
Certainly the most flexible VDI solution I've worked with, Citrix XenDesktop is the model of compatibility coupled with excellent capabilities. XenDesktop not only works with Citrix XenServer, but also runs on top of other vendors' hypervisors.
More than 20 years ago, the desktop revolution swept across the land, ushering in a new paradigm of computing, taking processing away from a centralized host, and moving it to personal computers at the edge of the network. With VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure), as the saying goes, what's old is new again. Using virtualization, IT now has the ability to bring those distinct computing platforms back under one roof, while also providing for greater control and flexibility of user access.
The latest release of Cisco's WAN optimization product line -- Wide Area Application Services (WAAS) 4.4 -- proves that the company famous for routing packets can also shape, optimize and accelerate them.
Wireless networks aren't just a convenience anymore; they've become an essential part of business culture. It's nearly impossible to walk into a workplace that doesn't use Wi-Fi in some fashion. For the millions of portable wireless devices--from traditional laptops to smartphones and tablets (including Apple's iDevices and the ever-expanding menagerie of Android-based gear)--that people carry with them today, Wi-Fi is the great connector, providing an industry-standard communication layer for untethered devices.
Cloud storage seems like such a no-brainer for backups and disaster recovery, it's a wonder that more businesses aren't taking advantage of it. If you're concerned about cloud outages, cloud storage costs, data loss, data security, or the ability to push your nightly backup sets up the Internet straw, Riverbed Technology's Whitewater appliance may make cloud storage easier to embrace.
Many small businesses have relied on Microsoft's Small Business Server (SBS) family of servers to get their feet wet with their first server and network. Introduced back in 1997 as BackOffice Small Business Server 4.0, SBS has matured into a tightly integrated platform of the most important services a small company needs: file and printer functions, email, calendar and contact sharing, and document collaboration. While it is limited in the maximum number of concurrent user connections, SBS doesn't shirk core services, providing enterprise-grade features at a price point almost every small business can afford.
Ever since VMware coined the term, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) has conjured images of large data centers, beefy servers, centralized storage, and complex software stacks. It's a given that each VDI installation requires numerous servers, software packages, and storage systems in order to provide desktop virtualization for more than a small handful of users, so VDI just has to be both expensive and complicated to deploy. Right?
Intel's newest server processors represent a major architectural change from earlier Xeon generations. One big improvement over previous-generation Xeons is the addition of an onboard memory controller and Non-Uniform Memory Access (NUMA). Taking a cue from AMD, Intel added NUMA to Nehalem to help eliminate cache starvation by tying banks of RAM to each processor.
Speeding up the delivery of applications and data to remote users is the No. 1 goal of WAN acceleration and optimization. Not only does it help get more done over the same amount of bandwidth -- or less -- but WAN optimization appliances reduce response times and overcome latency inherent to long-distance WAN links. Using a combination of file- and byte-segment caching, TCP optimizations, and application-specific acceleration, WAN acceleration appliances help move the data that drives business.
With the economy slowing down and IT budgets getting tighter, trying to sell your boss on some new network equipment might defy conventional wisdom. But if the equipment helps reduce time wasted when working over a WAN, or better yet, improves overall WAN usage and user productivity, it might not be as difficult a sale as you thought.
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