RTFM Education – Virtualization, VMware, Citrix

Feb 29 2008   12:43PM GMT

VMworld Europe 2008: Day Two: Breakout Session: ThinInstall

MikeLaverick MikeLaverick Profile: MikeLaverick

I hope you are catching a theme with my breakout sessions. They are all about new products. I’m not attending sessions which talk about tuning, optimising or troubleshooting existing known technology from VMware. Done that at Nice, Paris, LA and San Fran. When I look at new product whether it’s from VMware or another vendor – I’m doing it from a purely selfish perspective – I’m looking if there’s a financial opportunity for yours truly. It may not surprise you that I don’t RTFM Education LTD as not-for-profit entity. Until the guys from forums get together to pay my mortgage that’s like to continue to be the case!

So. What is Mr RTFM looking for in a new product. Well, my strategy for success (sounds like the title of some horrid self-improvement book) is Skill, Hardware, Customer.  Firstly, do I have the skills either personal or technical to get this product under my belt – or more specifically what amount of investment of my time to get those skills would have to invest to get a return. Secondly, hardware – does the technology have specific hardware requirements – and depending on heavy they are – can I buy that, or can I emulate it. A good example of this is SRM requirement for replication. I have a SAN at home. Good. But not two. Bad. Together with that – I’ve got no replication technology. I’m hoping I will be able to put together such a system using virtual appliances from Lefthand Networks or NetApp. Lastly, Customer – does the product have a clear, recognisable usage case such that a customer can see right away “what the product is for”. If customer can see this – I needn’t waste my and the customers very precious time in selling it to them. You see I’m a rubbish sales man. The best products are ones that sell themselves. VMware sells itself. Citrix sells itself. The less said about Microsoft the better.

Anyway, joking apart – I wanted to attend the ThinInstall presentation because I know little about it. It’s a recent acquisition from VMware which will slot just dandy into their VDI solution – VDM. You see alongside SRM, VDM is going to be my next project. But I won’t be just looking at VDM in isolation. My guide to VDM will have to be multvendor because right now VDM solutions are blended ones that involve a range of technologies. So this guide will probably include some DeDupe and Cloning from a storage vendor such as NetApp – then the VDM piece with all the features configured and setup – ending with ThinInstall to deliver the applications.  Lastly, I want to include some kind of review of 3rd party printing solutions such as UniPrint (which I’ve not looked at in years!) and ThinPrint. There’s little point in looking at VDM on its own.

[Watch out ThinPrint, VMware just bought ThinInstall. VMware’s got a thing about thin… JOKE!]

The ThinInstall demo was very interesting and trip down the recent memory lane of being a Citrix guy packaging up MSI’s and Citrix Application Manager apps for mass deployment  not to workstations but Citrix WhatEverWeAreCallingItThisYear 4.5. Seems to be that ThinInstall wins because it is a.) very easy to use and b.) agentless. Your left with a flat file at the end of process. I love that. When I find a free application on the world-wide-interweb and it doesn’t have an installer I love that. If I don’t like the application I don’t have to worry about trying out in a non-persistent VM or de-installing it from my physical laptop. The nice thing about this agentless approach in comparison to SoftGrid is the paradigm of having to install one piece of software to not have to have to install any other software is a bit, erm – weird.

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