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One of the hottest areas of focus for Long View’s team in the past three years has been Virtual Desktops – the ability to host a desktop operating system within a virtual machine on a centralized server, then using a remote display protocol to display the desktop session on the end-user device. VDI has many attractive aspects – security, consistency, flexibility of end device and potential cost savings,  that many of our customers are looking for ways to implement it in their own operations. However, two factors often interfere with successful VDI implementations. First, the cost of virtualization software can be prohibitive, and is frequently overlooked in planning VDI deployments. Second, many users find that the limited graphical capabilities of virtualized desktops are insufficient for their needs – any sort of 2d graphics or Flash video can often be so slow as to be impractical.

HP and Long View have a unique and powerful solution to this requirement. It’s based on HP’s new Moonshot architecture, and called the ConvergedSystem 100 for Hosted Desktops. What makes this approach unique is that it isn’t virtualized – each user has a dedicated CPU, with a graphics processor, memory and storage per user. The Moonshot chassis packages 180 of these into 45 ‘cartridges’ in a single 4.3u chassis, with a remarkably low power and rack footprint. This unique package is the start of a new platform paradigm that could be as significant as Blade systems were five years ago, as Moonshot cartridges are built-for-purpose in a specific application area. In other words, HP examines the market for a underserved segment, then develops (with processor partners) the cartridge to address that requirement. So far cartridges are available for the aforementioned Hosted Desktop model, as well as those built for high-volume web serving. Others will emerge over the course of this year and next.

Long View’s approach is to view the hosted desktop capability of the ConvergedSystem 100 as a part of a continuum of capabilities that address the needs of the full range of desktop users. Conventional office workers access standard desktop apps using VDI, increasingly on purpose-built VDI Converged Infrastructure stacks,  while more demanding or graphical-oriented users are provided a hosted desktop solution like the CS100. The use of consistent brokering tools ensures that users are assigned to the appropriate resources based on needs and availability, and all of the conventional VDI benefits of improved security and operational stability are realized for a broader range of users.  Finally, users at the extreme end of the graphical and compute intensive spectrum can also be accommodated in this same operational framework, but that discussion will have to wait until my next blog post.

For more information on the ConvergedSystem 100 for Hosted desktop see: http://www8.hp.com/us/en/products/solutions/product-detail.html?oid=6636567#!tab=features . To discuss the ways that these solutions could be applied to your business, contact glenn.bontje@lvs1.com.