VDIvision running within System Center. Note the connection brokering controls that appear in the right menu bar.

VDIvision running within System Center. Note the connection brokering controls that appear in the right menu bar. Click the PicLens link for more detail.

Greg Shields, writing for SearchVirtualDesktop.com, covers technologies that add value on top of Microsoft’s virtualization stack. We’re pleased to see that Greg included VDIworks’ robust connection broker as one of the highlighted technologies.

If you’ve been following our progress, you will probably be aware that VDIworks has been one of the leading desktop virtualization vendors in terms of the breadth and depth of support for the Microsoft platform. For instance, we were the first vendor to deliver a management plug-in for System Center that allows all of our core brokering, thinclient management and vendor-agnostic hypervisor capabilities to be accessed from within SCOM. In addition to System Center, we were also one of the first vendors to announce support for the then-unreleased Hyper-V hypervisor.

For those of you who have extensive Microsoft infrastructure deployed in your environments, here’s a partial list of Microsoft technologies we support:

1) WMI – Windows Management Instrumentation: Unlike many other virtualization management products that focus on a limited set of VM management tasks, VDIworks provides full physical and virtual management, extending the IT admin’s reach to physical systems. As part of our in-band management feature-set, we leverage WMI and allow VDP users to query thinclients, VMs and physical hosts through the rich set of interfaces WMI offers.

2) Active Directory: Not only does the VDP connection broker leverage Active Directory for end-user authentication, our entire administrator security model is based on it. This means that an IT administrator can delegate management rights to helpdesk professionals, network admins and others on an as-needed basis simply by selecting the appropriate Active Directory groups from within VDP, and assigning the appropriate rights. We’ve deployed our software in some complex environments with hierarchical AD structures and HUGE numbers of managed objects, so we’ve learned a lot from the real world of Active Directory and worked that knowledge into our software.

3) RDP: Duh! Yes, we absolutely support RDP. Fom Linux thinclients, XPe thinclient, Firefox or IE. We add load balancing, additional security (endpoint storage access control) and switching/sparing capabilities to enhance RDP.

4) Microsoft Windows XPe: Customers love XPe because of the unparalleled support for hardware and peripherals it delivers – there’s a driver for almost every device ever made! We support XPe with a small “agent” that lives on the Thinclient, providing health, inventory, remote control, connection brokering, load balancing, security, power management and other features.

5) Other Stuff: We have an ActiveX control for Internet Explorer that acts as a front-end to the connection broker. It supports full-screen VDI sessions from within IE. One of the key databases we support for our VDP server is Microsoft SQL Server. Our VideoOverIP software leverages the .NET framework and is mostly implemented in C#. Finally, VDP supports IIS as one of the web servers it can be hosted on.

As you can see, we’ve worked hard to build extensive support for Microsoft technologies into our VDI infrastructure. That said, we are all about customer choice. For almost all of the Microsoft technologies mentioned above, we provide alternative choices also (e.g. MySQL instead of MS SQL, Tomcat instead of IIS etc.) We find the Microsoft platform delivers robustness, extensive support, a great eco-system and above all, ubiquity. The final choice, of course, rests with the customer!

Use the PicLens Lite link at the bottom of this page to view these snapshots.

Vendor-agnostic VM management in System Center using VDIvision

Vendor-agnostic VM management in System Center using VDIvision

Thinclient management in System Center using VDIvision

Thinclient management in System Center using VDIvision

Connection Brokering in System Center using VDIvision

Connection Brokering in System Center using VDIvision