After almost two years in stealth mode, one of the most interesting virtualization startup at the moment, Qumranet, launches its first product: a VDI solution called Solid ICE.
Solid ICE is made of a connection broker, but also features a server component which adds resources control capabilities to KVM, and a new remote access protocol, called SPICE, which can be optionally used as replacement for Microsoft RDP.
The connection broker has some interesting capabilities in itself, supporting high availability and exposing a web portal for standard PC clients access which is designed to scale up to thousands of virtual machines. Despite that first version will provide basic capabilities to operate the virtual machine, with enhancements to be released over time.
The new protocol adds further value to Qumranet solution, being designed to deliver on thin clients all those multimedia protocols which usually don’t perform well into a terminal services session (an approach which competes with NEC VPCC one).
Last but not least Qumranet took care to support several thin clients on the market, developing a dedicated MiniOS (probably a special purpose Linux distribution).
Solid ICE will support Windows 2000 Professioanl, Windows XP and Linux as guest OSes, and it’s expected to be available before the end of this year.
Qumranet is interesting for three reasons:
- It’s founded by a well-known entrepreneur in virtualization industry (and not only), Moshe Bar, already behind XenSource and InovaWave
- It supports and maintain KVM, the open source hypervisor which has been included in Linux kernel since version 2.6.20 (so every Linux box on the planet will have it).
- It plans to port KVM on other platforms, Windows on top of the list
The decision to leverage growing value of KVM first of all with a VDI solution seems a savvy move. First of all using Linux as hypervisor cuts a relevant part of VDI implementation costs, and with a Windows port in the work, Solid ICE may become a dangerous multi-hypervisor connection broker for competition. Secondarily, a focus on the desktop-side gives Qumranet time to improve most critical KVM capabilities on server-side before launching additional products, as virtualization.info expects.
Despite KVM immaturity, VMware may have problems justifying high entry-cost for its upcoming Virtual Desktop Manager (VDM), which requires the whole VMware Infrastructure to run.
But it’s Microsoft that may receive the biggest damage here, losing the opportunity to leverage value of new System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2007 with its own connection broker. It seems now clear that every major virtualization vendor want to have a VDI solution as natural addition of the hypervisor: VMware with VDM, Citrix/XenSource with Desktop Server, Virtual Iron with Provision Networks Virtual Access Suite and now the whole Linux world with Solid ICE.