Gunnar Berger

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Gunnar Berger
Research Director
1 year at Gartner
14 years IT industry

Gunnar Berger is a research director for Gartner's IT Professionals service. He covers desktop, application and server virtualization ...Read Full Bio

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VMware has some big news for EUC

by Gunnar Berger  |  April 9, 2014  |  13 Comments

Everyone I know has asked for it and today it’s finally here: VMware has finally shipped a SBC product!

For those that can’t keep up with acronyms let me help you out. SBC stands for Server-based computing… still not following? How about RDSH (Remote Desktop Session Host) or RDS (Remote Desktop Services) or TS (Terminal Services)? Honestly I don’t care what you call it, the deal is multiple users log into a single Windows Server and get a private session. It’s been around for over a decade, it’s what I cut my teeth on in this industry and VMware has finally released a viable product.

So why should anyone care about VMware releasing a product that I just told you has been around forever. For one, we all know by now VDI is not a silver bullet technology. Right now VDI adoption is teetering around 5% of total enterprise market share, and if you are in the group of orgs using it you tend to find a sweet spot of usage for about 20-30% of your organization. SBCs market is much bigger and VMware just entered it… but Citrix created it.

The story goes that somehow in the 90s Citrix has able to secure the source code for Windows NT and they redesigned the OS to support multiple sessions on the same OS. This was typical in Unix mainframes but had never been done for Windows. Microsoft then bought the code back from Citrix and released Windows NT Terminal Services. Microsoft and Citrix spent the next decade being best of buddies.

Over those years many other vendors would attempt to copy the magic that Citrix created, after all Citrix just sat on top of Windows Server so why can’t some startup create a new product that competes with Citrix? Some vendors came and went, others are still around nipping at the heals. Largely though Microsoft itself has pushed to make RDS a pretty good platform without the need of Citrix (I cover this in “Can Windows Server 2012’s RemoteApp Replace Citrix XenApp?” if you are interested). But as far as I know no vendor had ever really created a product that fully competed with Citrix. Instead most vendors took shortcuts that allowed them to create a competitive product that just made RDS a little bit better.

What VMware has done in Horizon 6 is create a true competitive product to XenApp. I’m not talking about every check box under the sun, because frankly, it’s a safe bet that Citrix is going to have a lot of checkboxes (features) for just about every uses case you can think of and VMware will take some time to fill in those checkboxes. The reason I think Horizon 6 is a true competitor to XenApp is that they are the first product I’ve ever seen that has done the leg work to create a 3rd Party Protocol Provider for RDS.

What is a 3PPP, it’s the official way to create a protocol that works with RDSH. It’s how ICA works with RDSH to bring you XenApp, or how RDP works (but RDP wouldn’t be third party). Up until now, any vendor in this space has not done the work to create a true 3PPP interface instead most products I’ve seen have just either used virtual channels on RDP or they’ve done some transcoding of RDP. Let’s take a look visually at the difference in the major products I’ve taken a look at:

SBC3

The jist of how this works is that Windows talks to a graphics driver which then takes all the content being created and encodes it into a protocol. Microsoft uses its own protocol, RDP, Citrix uses ICA/HDX, VMware uses PCoIP/Blast, but check out Ericom does:

  • In the case of Ericom Blaze all they do is  compression of the protocol and they build some customized Virtual Channels (which is a function within RDP). As RDP improves the need for a 3rd party to make RDP better becomes less necessary. Also, this approach means you are at the mercy of Microsoft for most of the stack, you can merely improve it a bit. (Take a look at my “Microsoft RemoteFX (RDP8) Protocol and User Experience: In-Depth Assessment” if you’re interested in why I think adding additions to RDP isn’t as big of a deal as it was with RDP7).

Microsoft and Citrix own the graphics driver and the can use this information to make sure the right information is passing into the protocol for remote delivery. Maybe I’m being too nerdy here but think about the power you have when you literally have control over the content before its rendered, talk about an efficient way to remote Windows content. VMware has taken this same approach and it’s the approach that I believe will make a big difference for them in the long run.

I know a lot of credit will go to a lot of the new hires at VMware but what I see here is a product that has been a long time in the making. So congrats to whomever it was inside the walls of VMware that stayed the course over some major changes in VMware EUC, and congrats to the new hires that continued to invest in this product. While it remains to be seen just how well this product will compete with XenApp, I’m glad to see that VMware invested heavily to make it a real race and not just another “me too” product.

Congratulations aside, VMware just entered a race that Citrix started many years ago. Good luck to all, and I for one am glad to see a little fire in the mostly ignored SBC market.

PS: After you are done reading this blog on the annoucement take a look at Brian Madden’s Blog, he looks at other details, and isn’t all nerdy about 3PPP like I am.

13 Comments »

Category: SBC VDI     Tags: , , , , ,

13 responses so far ↓

  • 1 VMware has some big news for EUC | All that All   April 9, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    [...] By Gunnar Berger [...]

  • 2 VMware has some big news for EUC : 6config: Le blog   April 9, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    [...] By Gunnar Berger [...]

  • 3 VMware has some big news for EUC | Euler Global Consulting   April 9, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    [...] By Gunnar Berger [...]

  • 4 Terry Burgess   April 9, 2014 at 1:48 pm

    Snoozeee… who cares?

  • 5 VMware announces Horizon 6, adding Server Based Computing as a solution | Knowledge Hub Networks   April 9, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    [...] detailed analysis can be found at Brian Madden’s blog and by Gartner analyst Gunnar Berger who both provide some more details on this news from [...]

  • 6 VMware announces Horizon 6, adding Server Based Computing as a solution | Go Que   April 9, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    [...] detailed analysis can be found at Brian Madden’s blog and by Gartner analyst Gunnar Berger who both provide some more details on this news from [...]

  • 7 Dave   April 10, 2014 at 2:50 am

    Pretty interesting and competition is great, however, a major flaw is the lack of App-V support. Aside from us having virtualized many apps in App-V, the fact that VMware is forcing ThinApp – a separate purchase – instead of a very capable (some would say much better) product that comes as part of the very RDS that Horizon sits on. Where’s the value for enterprises with that one?

  • 8 Seamless Remote Apps Reloaded | DrTritsch.com   April 10, 2014 at 9:48 am

    [...] Warren Ponder and Pat Lee (VMware), Kit Colbert (VMware), Rakesh Narasimhan (Citrix) and Gunnar Berger (Gartner). Now let me take a step back and think out loud what this means when looking at it from a [...]

  • 9 Joe   April 10, 2014 at 11:15 am

    Dave, get your facts straight. When you buy VMware Advanced which gives you the App publishing capabilities you get ThinApp. You don’t need a seperate purchase.

  • 10 Dave   April 10, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    Joe,

    Thanks for clarifying that.

    Now what App-V?

  • 11 VMware announces Horizon 6. Supports app publishing to compete Citrix | UP2V   April 10, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    [...] VMware has some big news for EUC by Gartner Gunnar Berger [...]

  • 12 Newsletter: April 12, 2014 | Notes from MWhite   April 15, 2014 at 1:42 am

    [...] good look at App Remoting which I think is a big part in this release.  Here is a Gartner guy who comments on this announcement that reads well.  Here is a couple of videos on Horizon 6 (some extra detail [...]

  • 13 Ian   April 21, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    App publishing support is good. But I am really disappointed with the complexity. They have merged workspace and view and there is some sort of sync between the two products. It’s really ugly – now I have 5 consoles to manage to deal with VMware VDI/app publishing.

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