Rackspace Intros Virtual Desktop Platform

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

Rackspace Hosting is partnering with Citrix to provide a hosted virtual desktop solution available both directly to customers and through Rackspace's resellers who will configure and customize the solution for end-user companies.

Rackspace Hosting is launching a Rackspace hosted virtual desktop platform, enabling companies to gain the benefits of centralized infrastructure and data but without the capital investment,  and enabling resellers to offer virtual desktop solutions to their end-user customers.

Rackspace’s Chris Zagorski, director of Enterprise Product Development, told Channel Insider that the adoption of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, coupled with the adoption of cloud computing, have led the demand by companies to access their desktop information from whatever device they are using at the moment.

For example, Rackspace’s own senior vice president of sales carries an iPad with him when he travels and would prefer to leave his laptop behind. With a virtual desktop capability, this executive can access his Windows desktop and PowerPoint slides from his iPad wherever he goes.

The Rackspace virtual desktop platform is enabled through a partnership with virtualization vendor Citrix.  The hosting and SaaS vendor announced the platform at the Citrix Summit 2011 in San Francisco, May 23.

The solution lets customers and partners to host virtual desktops on either dedicated and/or cloud solutions, Rackspace said. Partners can bundle in additional applications and services to create a custom solution for end customers. Vertical markets could include healthcare and finance – both industries where security is essential and where users may need to access data from a variety of devices.

Rackspace notes that industry analyst firm Gartner expects mainstream adoption of virtual desktops to take place in 2012 through 2014, with 70 million users by 2014.

"We’re tapping our vast community of partners and their networks to provide customers with a hosted virtual desktop platform that offers them choices," said Odus Wittenburg, vice president of enterprise solutions for Rackspace, in a statement.

Rackspace and Citrix will launch a hosted virtual desktop demo environment to enable customers and partners to test the performance of the solution.

Rackspace is also partnering with NetApp, Akami and Riverbed in order to address concerns over storage and network performance over the cloud. For instance, when thousands of users of virtual desktop all boot up at the same time it causes a heavy i/o load. Rackspace’s partnership with NetApp includes NetApp’s i/o caching to address that issue. Akami’s technology provides IP acceleration by optimizing traffic to take the fastest route possible over the internet. Riverbed provides devices that perform compression and deduplication optimization. These technologies are optional add-ons to the virtual desktop service offered by Rackspace.

Prices range in the mid-$20 per user per month to the mid-$40 per user per month. One Rackspace partner, already up and running with the services is Desktone which offers a starting price of $1 per user per day.


Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com