A Closer Look:

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Print this article Print


Desktop-as-a-Service Designed for Any Cloud ? Nutanix Frame

SIMTone promises cloud computing capabilities that are simpler, cheaper, faster and more secure than other solutions on the market.

SIMtone breaks their offering down into several sub products. For larger data centers that are looking to manage multiple customer "clouds," the company offers SIMTone USP (Universal Services Provisioning Platform), a product that allows MSPs to deliver cloud services such as virtual desktops, DAAS  and SAAS, Web applications to subscribers, on demand and on the fly, on any device and any broadband connection, via a single user ID. USP is probably the way to go if a solution provider wants to become a self governing MSP, with their own data center offerings. USP is designed to scale reliably using commodity hardware coupled with virtualization and reduces operating costs for MSPs.  

SIMtone USP offers a hosted PC environment to subscribers and can work with most popular Internet browsers on traditional PCs or with zero-touch, non-processing terminals (commonly referred to as SNAPs).

The SNAP-based connectivity creates an opportunity for solution providers to sell low-cost devices to their customers to access the hosted environment. Solution providers can also garner integration revenue by setting up existing PCs to work with SIMtone USP. That setup may consist of wiping out the PC's hard drive and just setting up a simple OS and browser to access the cloud-based services.

For organizations looking to host their own cloud-based computing infrastructure, solution providers can choose to sell and install SIMtone VSP, which is designed for businesses to transform existing applications and desktops into "cloud computing-enabled" infrastructures. SIMtone VSP is aimed at organizations looking to manage their own cloud and not be part of a larger, multiple cloud environment.

While the connectivity concept behind VSP is very similar to USP, VSP is geared more towards replicating existing environments (or transformation from traditional desktops to hosted virtual desktops) for a specific client site and not the basic, startup provisioning of new hosted services. SIMtone VSP supports multiple operating systems and applications, which are hosted in virtual environments. Solution providers can configure SIMtone VSP to work with terminal servers, blade PCs and even existing desktop PCs. Solution providers will be able to use the product to quickly build services that are normally found only in a data center and then can quickly migrate and provision end users.

Arguably, the most important element of SIMtone USP and VSP is the XDP 2.0 stateless protocol, which proves to be the secret sauce behind SIMtone’s capabilities. Unlike RDP (or other protocols), XDP 2.0 is designed from the ground up for "stateless" computing. In other words, the protocol is not hindered by many of the subsets of features needed by other remote desktop protocols, and is designed to focus solely on delivery of virtualized desktops to client PCs. XDP 2.0 enables client PCs to support MP3 audio.

Full-frame-rate desktop video and fast USB redirects – thanks mostly to the protocol’s optimized bandwidth utilization. Audio and video performance becomes increasingly important as companies look to leverage desktop VoIP and video conferencing capabilities, both of which were normally beyond the capabilities of traditional hosted desktops.


From a technological standpoint, SIMtone accomplishes everything the company set out to do and the product proves to be a viable alternative to other "cloud-enabled" solutions, such as those from Citrix and Ericom. For the channel, SIMtone offers ample opportunity, but the company does need to offer more channel centric information on its Web site and define pricing.

Currently, interested potential partners will need to contact the company to find out about the channel program, pricing and support elements behind the products and their specific options. All things considered, SIMtone is worth a much closer look for solution providers looking to get involved with the cloud.

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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