Wanova leaves stealth mode and promises a new era in desktop virtualization

Wanova's Distributed Desktop Virtualization architecture aims to transform how companies manage, support, and protect desktops and laptops -- particularly remote and mobile endpoints

Desktop virtualization is a hot topic, though the market has yet to mature to the point where organizations are adopting it at the same rate as server virtualization. Still, market researchers like Gartner say desktop virtualization is potentially a multi-billion dollar market, with licenses for virtual desktops expected to grow from 300,000 in 2008 to more than 50 million by 2013.

Investment firms must be thinking the same thing, because Greylock Partners, Carmel Ventures, and Opus Capital each seem to have their eyes on the future of the desktop virtualization market.  Together, these venture capital firms have invested $13 million in Wanova's Series A-round of funding -- a significant amount of money in these turbulent financial times.  The investment also shows belief that there is very real pain being realized by large enterprise organizations right now, and that Wanova has the solution to address this growing market opportunity.

[ Related: Pano Logic takes its desktop virtualization solution closer to the cloud | InfoWorld's Paul Venezia looks at the perfect storm of bad news for VDI ]

San Jose, Calif.-based Wanova has come out of stealth mode and entered a field of desktop virtualization offerings from giant companies like VMware, Citrix and Red Hat, as well as smaller players who have been at this a while like MokaFive.  The startup was founded in April of 2008 by technology veterans, CEO Ilan Kessler and CTO Dr. Issy Ben-Shaul.  Before this venture, the two also co-founded Actona, which was acquired by Cisco in 2004 for $82 million, and its software became the foundation for Cisco's Application Delivery Business Unit.

You might be thinking, "Great, another desktop virtualization solution."  And I'd probably be right with you, but the company is throwing down the gauntlet and making some bold claims here.  Wanova CTO Ben-Shaul said, "There is nothing else like this on the market.  It's not VDI and it's not a client hypervisor-based solution.  It's an entirely new paradigm."

Wanova claims its unique architecture and software, dubbed Distributed Desktop Virtualization (DDV), will be the trick to push desktop virtualization over the hump and transform how companies manage, support, and protect desktops and laptops, particularly remote and mobile endpoints.

"Despite its promises, adoption of desktop virtualization has been limited, largely due to the constraints of today's point solutions.  The problem can't be solved solely by targeting the client, the server or even the WAN," said Ben-Shaul.  "Our virtualization architecture offers a new approach that integrates all three components -- IT managers get powerful centralized management and control, the network is utilized efficiently, and remote workers get the performance they expect."

Wanova's DDV solution centralizes the entire desktop contents in the Centralized Virtual Desktop (CVD) area in the datacenter, providing for management and protection purposes.  At the endpoint, Wanova's DeskCache client executes a complete, local desktop instance, while Distributed Desktop Optimization (DDO) enables real-time, bi-directional transfers between the CVD and the DeskCache.  This helps achieve a superior end-user experience, important to get the end-user's to sign off on any new technology.  Wanova also provides single image management, including mass provisioning and continuous enforcement of the base image on all computers, while enabling persistent personalization including user-installed applications.  IT admins can make an update to one copy, and thousands of endpoints can be updated automatically.  It's also important to get the IT administrator to sign off.

Wanova's architecture enables quick re-imaging of an entire desktop over the WAN in as few as seven minutes, and can also completely restore a PC over the WAN and get the end-user up and running in 10 minutes.

The company said the technology is hypervisor free at the endpoint, which means that endpoints require no hypervisor or underlying "second OS."  IT only has to care about a single image per endpoint, which is then managed and protected at the datacenter by Wanova -- making the solution more applicable and scalable for the enterprise.

When you look at certain technologies on paper, they can look and sound extremely interesting -- as does this one from Wanova.  Now we'll have to see how the solution handles itself in the real world.  The company has already conducted numerous first trials of the solution over the past few weeks with early customers, and they are looking to expand those trials.

For an up-close look at the technology, you can check them out at the New Innovators Pavilion at VMworld 2009, which takes place Aug. 31 through Sept. 3 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.