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Wanova: A New Face In The Virtual Desktop Space


Who is Wanova?  Wanova was founded by former Cisco employees, Ilan Kessler and Dr. Issy Ben-Shaul.  The entire management team has impressive credentials and bring many years of experience in the industry.  Mr Kessler was co-founder and CEO of Actona, which was acquired by Cisco in 2004. Mr Kessler remained with Cisco helping to drive the Wide Area Application Services (WAAS) product. Dr Ben-Shaul was the CTO of the Application Delivery Business Unit at Cisco and led the technology and vision for the Wide Area Application Services (WAAS) product. Dr. Ben-Shaul joined Cisco, just like Mr Kessler, via the acquisition of Actona Technologies, where he was Co-Founder, CTO and Vice President of Engineering.  Besides top notch guys at the helm the company has some serious money behind them with the likes of leading venture capital firms Greylock Partners, Carmel Ventures and Opus Capital.

You can start to see the pattern here.  So who was Actona?  Actona actually developed the technologies for file server and protocol acceleration over the WAN, which became the foundation for the Cisco WAAS product.

Wanova’s technology was announced at VMWorld 2009 in San Francisco to a lot of "ohhs and ahhs", but also with a healthy dose of skepticism.  Their Distributed Desktop Virtualization (DDV) solution centralizes the entire desktop contents in the data center for management and security while putting the desktop workload execution to the endpoints for what Wanova is calling "superior user experience".  The architecture combines desktop streaming over the WAN, advanced network and storage deduplication, and desktop-caching techniques to optimize data transfer over the network.  This is accomplished without a hypervisor at the end point, but does utilize a client-side agent called DeskCache.  The DeskCache client enables end users to execute workloads and work offline, with changes automatically uploaded to the server upon reconnection to the WAN. 

According to Michele Borovac, the product now named Mirage, has been in testing with "more than a handful" of medium to very large enterprises for more than a year.  They are expecting a GA release early to mid 2010.  According to Borovac Wanova feels they have significant advantage in the market due to the scalability of the product along with the de-dupe technology to reduce the costs of storage which have been proven to be a major source of costs in virtual desktop implementations. 

Personally I like to see innovation in the industry and if this proves out we will likely see the adoption rate of virtual desktops pick up.

Wanova Announces Beta Availability for Mirage Distributed Desktop Virtualization Software

Wanova Mirage Transforms PC Lifecycle Management While Enabling Offline Use and Mobility

SAN JOSE, Calif., December 9th, 2009 — Wanova, Inc. today released the beta version of Mirage, its Distributed Desktop Virtualization (DDV) software. A new way of virtualizing desktops, Mirage transforms PC lifecycle management processes such as provisioning, image management, desktop support, and OS and hardware migration by centralizing desktop contents in the data center in a Centralized Virtual Desktop (CVD) while providing full support for offline use and mobility.

Streamlined OS Migration and PC Refresh Cycles

Many IT organizations are focusing their attention on OS migrations and PC refresh cycles. Migrating users from one OS to another, or from one hardware type to another, can be an expensive, time-consuming, and painful process. With Mirage, the CVD – including OS, corporate applications and user personalization, can be streamed in minutes to any physical or virtual PC regardless of location or network connection speed, greatly simplifying migration and refresh cycles.

In particular, Mirage resolves the painful ‚ "wipe and load", challenge associated with migration from XP to Windows 7. With Mirage-enabled desktops, users can install Windows 7 and get their complete XP environment, encapsulated in a CVD, automatically streamed from the data center to XP-mode in Windows 7, making all user data and applications seamlessly accessible within the Windows 7 environment.

Centralized Management with Improved End-User Performance and Mobility
The Mirage CVD is hosted and managed in the data center. On the user end, a DeskCache™ client executes a local desktop instance, enabling the workload to be performed locally on any PC (physical or virtual), thereby providing employees with native performance, mobility, and offline use. Any updates made to an image by IT administrators, or any updates made by the end-user to data, are bi-directionally synchronized over the network using Wanova’s Distributed Desktop Optimization (DDO), which eliminates redundant data and efficiently compresses and caches data that is transferred. DDO extends the benefits of desktop virtualization to the most challenging users to manage Рremote and mobile employees who connect over the Wide-Area Network (WAN) and VPN connections.

"Our research has found that mobile users represent the biggest management challenge in desktop management today, and more than half of corporate PCs shipped in 2009 will be notebooks", said Terry Cosgrove, Sr. Research Analyst at Gartner. ‚"Traditional hosted virtual desktop (HVD) technology offers compelling management benefits; however, these approaches are not appropriate today for mobile users who are often disconnected from the corporate network."

Wanova Mirage is fully compatible with existing hypervisors, but its unique architecture does not require a hypervisor to virtualize desktops in the datacenter. As a result, IT groups can easily deploy Mirage to endpoints and rapidly benefit from centralized control of both the physical and virtual desktop infrastructure. Costly and inefficient processes such as provisioning, desktop management, desktop continuity, troubleshooting and OS migration are streamlined, and end-users benefit from improved productivity and an excellent user experience.

"Traditional approaches to desktop virtualization have some very good use cases, but are often too costly, complex, restrictive and ultimately un-productive, especially for mobile users that require offline operation and native laptop performance", said Issy Ben-Shaul, CTO and co-founder of Wanova. "Mirage is a new approach; one that extends the benefits of desktop virtualization to remote and mobile workers. Our unique CVD construct represents a fundamental shift in the way desktop virtualization is architected and implemented."

Wanova has received commitment to test Mirage from over 40 customers and service providers in a broad range of vertical industries, including energy, finance, technology, services, healthcare, and manufacturing.

Beta Program Participation
For more information about product capabilities and features, visit www.wanova.com. IT managers interested in being part of the beta program can find details at www.wanova.com/beta.

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