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Thursday, December 04, 2008
IBM Introduce a Linux-Based, Virtual Desktop

IBM, Virtual Bridges and Canon

This solution runs open standards-based email, word processing, spreadsheets, unified communication, social networking and other software to any laptop, browser, or mobile device from a virtual desktop login on a Linux-based server configuration.

A virtual desktop looks like a traditional desktop but is not limited to a single physical computer. Instead, many virtual Linux desktops are hosted on a server. The combined solution includes:

- Virtual desktop provided by Virtual Bridges called Virtual Enterprise Remote Desktop Environment (VERDE);
- Ubuntu, the worldwide leading Linux desktop operating system, from Canonical; and
- IBM Open Collaboration Client Solution software (OCCS) based on IBM Lotus Symphony, IBM Lotus Notes and Lotus applications. IBM Lotus Symphony is built on the Open Document Format (ODF).

"When we look back several years from now, I think we'll see this time as an inflection point when the economic climate pushed the virtual Linux desktop from theory to practice," said Inna Kuznetsova, director, IBM Linux Strategy. "The financial pressures on organizations are staggering and the management of PCs is unwieldy. Today's virtual desktop is delivering superior collaborative software, an innovative delivery method, and an open-source operating system that is demanding clients' consideration."

Compared to Microsoft-based desktops, this virtual desktop solution, including Virtual Bridges and Canonical, is estimated on average to deliver cost savings from:

- Licensing: cost avoidance of $500 to $800 per user on software license for Microsoft Office, Windows and all related products ;
- Hardware: cost avoidance of around $258 per user since there is no need to upgrade hardware to support Windows Vista and Office 2007 ;
- Power consumption: cost avoidance of $40 to $145 per user from reduced power to run the configuration and $20 to $73 per user from reduced air conditioning requirements from lower powered desktop devices annually; and
- IT services: 90 percent savings of deskside PC support; 75 percent of security/user administration; 50 percent of help desk services such as password resets, and 50 percent for software installations, which are replaced by software publishing

Two Views of the Virtual Desktop

From the end user's point of view, the virtual desktop combining solution from IBM, Virtual Bridges and Canonical looks like a traditional desktop but is not limited to a single physical computer. Instead of the software and data being saved on a user's desktop, the hosted applications permit the user to access the screen data. That means users can access their computers on any network-connected device anywhere they happen to be. Software fixes are automatically inherited to the user sessions without anyone having to visit the decentralized access point. All the applications that a user might need -- such as email, calendaring, word processing and team collaboration -- are available.

From the IT department's view, the difference between virtual and physical desktop is significant. For this virtual system, all administrative intervention is done on consolidated virtual machines in the data center through deployment of standard images. When there is a software update required, the IT manager can do it centrally. The IT manager can run concurrent Linux desktop sessions from any x86 Linux server, such as a blade server. Users can access their Linux desktop sessions from not only endpoints running Linux, but Windows and Mac as well, which is critical as users seek standard application environments across heterogeneous physical desktops. The solution includes a seamless remote printing capability without the need to maintain drivers.

Availability and Pricing

The virtual desktop is generally available now in most geographies and many languages by contacting IBM or Virtual Bridges. Standard pricing for a 1,000-user VERDE deployment is $49 per user.

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