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Leostream Upgrades Virtual Desktop Broker Software

Leostream, a company whose Connection Broker software helps manage virtual desktop environments, has launched Connection Broker 6.5, which features improved user authentication, better matching of the virtual image to the display screen resolution and additional management tools. Connection Broker works with many of the major desktop hypervisors from companies such as Citrix, Microsoft and VMware. Connection Broker determines what resources a particular end user should be allocated when they log in. The product supports many desktop protocols such as Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and HP's Remote Graphics Software (RGS) protocol for graphic-intense image environments such as CAD/CAM systems. Connection Broker also supports other emerging protocols, such as PC-over-IP and HDX.

New in version 6.5 is the ability to match the virtual image to the display capabilities of a particular end user device. For example, if an employee uses a thin client attached to two monitors at the office, but is accessing the network from a laptop at home with only one screen, Connection Broker can instruct the virtual desktop to adapt to the correct environment.

That feature intrigued David Butcher, a network engineer at Collingwood General and Marine Hospital in Ontario, Canada. The hospital uses Connection Broker to manage its virtual desktop infrastructure for about 500 employees using 300 computers -- a combination of thin client devices, desktop and laptop computers -- in the hospital or remotely. Remote access is provided through a Juniper SSL VPN connection.

Connection Broker automates the process of delivering the virtual desktop image to a doctor working in his office, a clinician in a hospital lab, or a medical transcriptionist working from home, Butcher says."Transcriptionists use a particular application,  so we set up a pool of virtual desktops and assign those user accounts to that pool of computers. You don't have to hard code anything. You get remote access, based on your user account, and the broker figures out what you should be getting," he says.

Other improvements in version 6.5 include an enhanced Web client that recognizes registry plans, printer plans, and user role settings. The company has also upgraded management capabilities. A search function lets administrators run queries at a global or table level to more quickly find desktops and clients. The Connection Broker also provides automatic indication of new software updates. Version 6.5 can also create Cisco VPN tunnels automatically.

Randy George, an analyst at InformationWeek Analytics, gave high marks to a previous version of Connection Broker that he reviewed last year. "On the whole, we were impressed with the LCB's general ease of use and management.  The management interface is simple and not overcrowded with an endless array of configuration options," George wrote. Version 6.5 sells for a onetime price of $75 per end user, plus $15 per user, per year for support.