Desktop VM managers make a virtual two-horse race
Kidaro Managed Workspace and Sentillion vThere jockey for position in a maturing virtualization market
The virtualized desktop is finally coming of age. Once the purview of the technorati, desktop virtualization is rapidly evolving into a viable solution for delivering mainstream applications and services – thanks in large part to the efforts of innovative third-party developers such as Kidaro and Sentillion. By pushing the boundaries of what defines a virtualized environment, these vendors are obliterating the technical and logistical barriers that have long stymied enterprise IT efforts to leverage desktop virtualization, both to reduce TCO and to minimize the overall corporate security surface area.
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Kidaro and Sentillion, as well as VMware ACE, provide centralized authentication and validation of VMs, including the ability to isolate and revoke rogue images. They bolster security through encryption of the local VM disk image or file structure, and through encryption of the VM network connection, which is typically handled within the VM by a VPN client. They also offer the ability to restrict the VM’s access to local resources such as USB, disk, and clipboard. And they integrate with Active Directory to simplify authentication and identity management.
Beyond these essentials, Kidaro and Sentillion both provide a variety of additional unique and highly innovative features that differentiate their products from the more basic VMware offering, and also from each other. The solution you choose will come down to your evaluation priorities, with Kidaro’s host integration prowess squaring off against Sentillion’s deployment convenience to woo prospective customers.
Kidaro Managed Workspace 1.0
Kidaro Managed Workspace is one of a new class of management tools targeted at the emerging virtualized desktop market. Leveraging existing VM engines (VMware and Microsoft Virtual PC), Kidaro Managed Workspace extends and enhances the virtualized runtime environment to make it more secure and easier to manage. It accomplishes this by wrapping the VM engine with additional client logic that controls its interaction with local (host USB, file, and print) and network (LAN, WAN, and VPN) resources as well as providing detailed auditing and authentication/validation functions.
Several features help to differentiate Kidaro from the competition. For starters, there’s the Published Applications mechanism: Programs hosted within the Kidaro-managed VM are integrated seamlessly with the host desktop, running in their own windows and even appearing on the local task bar and Start menu. It’s a trick reminiscent of the Coherence technology in Parallels Desktop for the Macintosh and serves to blur the line between virtualized and nonvirtualized operation.