Wanova: Desktop Virtualization That More than Meets the VDI
When many people think of virtualization, VDI immediately comes to mind. But The VAR Guy knows desktop virtualization isn’t just about thin clients and host servers. There’s a lot more going on, and Wanova is looking to ride the virtualization wave in all its iterations. Our resident blogger spoke to Wanova CMO Barry Phillips for some clues. Read on for the details …
The VAR Guy has covered Wanova in quite a few times. From its humble beginnings as a startup to launching a channel program and more, Wanova has been lighting up the virtualization radar for its unique approach to desktop virtualization. And that’s what keeps The VAR Guy interested.
Wanova’s product works like this: Install the client on the computers you want to virtualize and manage them from an on-premise server portal. The client backs up ‘layers’ of information about the computer’s OS onto said server. Should a user’s computer ever be lost, stolen or destroyed, a replacement machine can be imaged instantly with the backed-up needed layers. No OS install is needed, nor any driver updates. In fact, Phillips said, users can even install new versions of Windows seamlessly in the background. A user can go about his day seeing no performance hit as Windows 7 installs in the background. When the user reboots, XP will be a thing of the past.
Phillips said the tiny 2MB client software is easily installed, and thanks to network and storage-side de-duplication, there’s little overhead needed on the local machine. Users or IT admins can also select what info gets stored — for example, they can choose to not store MP3 files but store all .doc files. Wallpaper and icon preferences can stay, but not video game content.
“The nice thing is that we allow users to run locally on desktops or laptops [with the] personalization and everything else you’d need, but that you wouldn’t get with [traditional] VDI,” he said.
Wanova sees this approach to virtualization as more cost-effective and useful, since it uses the onboard hardware of a computer to do true computing instead of offloading it to a server CPU. “We manage one copy of everything inside the network [but] we run everything locally,” Phillips said. “No computation [happens] in the network. We can run 1,500 users on a single server, versus 20 to 30 users on a [traditional VDI] server.” He also pointed out that fewer servers means less cooling, and thus, less cash spent on the data center, making this solution ‘green.’
Wanova’s real bone to pick with the thin client VDI structure is this: Why would you put 50 users on a quad-core server when there’s a laptop with a powerful enough CPU and GPU to perform data-intensive tasks? Why would you want to virtualize, and thus limit, the computational power of your machine? Centralization is a nice trade- off, but Phillips noted, “There are more business PCs and fewer thin clients,” and Wanova can take advantage of that.
Wanova [recently] released version 2.0, the next one is coming soon. “But what’s interesting for us is just the fact that lots of service providers of all sizes are coming in,” he said. “VARs who want to be cloud providers [and] global MSPs — they’re looking to move up into the cloud.” Wanova’s style of virtualization can allow VARs or MSPs to have the aforementioned centralized image server on their own premises, and simply resell and package the solution to customers without having to deploy a server in their data center.
The VAR Guy will keep his eyes open under his fedora to see how Wanova navigates its momentum. Right now, Wanova is still facing competition from big-name companies such as VMware, the growing popularity of affordable thin client solutions from Pano Logic, and the traction of the Open Virutalization Alliance. What happens in the next 12 months or so could make or break Wanova’s stride.