Skating on Solid ICE Desktop Virtualization

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Posted 2008-07-28 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Qumranet's Solid ICE aims to bring low-cost, hosted desktop virtualization to businesses via the KVM standard.

One of the most popular IT topics of late is virtualization. After all, virtual machines can help reduce the footprint of the data center and leverage processing power that would otherwise go unused. But the topic of virtualization has been rather one-sided, with everyone focusing on what the technology means to the server and the data center.

Qumranet is aiming to shift the conversation from the needs of the network to the needs of the user (and desktop administrator) with Solid ICE V4.1, a virtualization product based upon the KVM (Kernel-based Virtualization Machine) standard, which aims to virtualize desktop sessions.

In the simplest terms, Solid ICE offers remote PCs access to virtual desktops via a Web browser. The product is installed on a dedicated server running a Linux OS and then an administrator creates virtual PCs using the desktop operating systems and applications of his or her choice. Users then access those sessions via a compatible browser and have complete access to a virtual PC.

The advantages to that approach are many. Administrators have complete control of the desktop configuration and can easily "clone" configurations, deliver sessions on demand and back up user desktops much more easily than ever before.

With virtualized PCs, administrators no longer have to worry about maintaining the hardware and software of the actual client PC, as all the client PC needs is access to the network and a compatible browser. The benefits of the technology go on and on and should make both the bean counters and IT support staff happy campers.

There are some down sides, though. First off, the server has to be a hearty and powerful machine, with plenty of processing power and RAM, along with ample storage. That can make the server a very expensive piece of equipment (for our low-cost alternative, see "How to Build an Affordable Virtualization Server"). Secondly, users must have a persistent connection to the server to access their desktops. That limits use by remote or traveling users. Lastly, there is a significant performance penalty when running a virtual PC: While most lines of business applications and office suites will run fine, those looking to edit video or run CAD applications will want to avoid the virtual PC route.

 
 
 
 
Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at frank.ohlhorst@ziffdavisenterprise.com
 
 
 
 
 
 

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