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Quest Seeks to Speed Path to Desktop Virtualization

The Provision Networks unit of Quest Software has launched an Experience Optimization Pack to give users of virtualized desktops an experience that more closely resembles the one they had when they fired up their own hardware.

End user virtualization typically relies on desktops running on central servers, and several forms have so far proved barely passable or unsatisfactory to end users accustomed to having their own hardware. The optimization pack is aimed at some of the current drawbacks to virtualizing end users, such as the inability to move rich graphics or voice rapidly between servers and desktops.

"There are still barriers to virtualization that must be overcome" for the typical enterprise Windows environment, said Paul Ghostine, Quest VP and general manager of the Provision Networks division.

The Quest approach is to work with Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT)'s RDP protocol, used by Microsoft Terminal Services. RDP is now a defacto open protocol with a great deal of information published about it. Another route is that of Citrix Systems, which has come with its own high performance, but proprietary ICA protocol. Both run on top of Windows Server 2003 or 2008 but RDP, used by both Quest and VMware for desktop virtualization, is the more open protocol choice, said Ghostine in an interview.

Quest already offers Virtual Access Suite, which provisions end users through Microsoft Active Directory authorization with a virtual machine. The Quest product is one of the few that works in a standard Microsoft desktop environment and across hypervisors from VMware, Microsoft, Virtual Iron (based on open source Xen) or Parallels. It supports Windows XP or Vista desktops.

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