IBM, it would appear, have taken a swing at Microsoft’s huge jaw and teamed up with Virtual Bridges and Canonical to offer a Linux-based virtual desktop system. The three organisations announced the general availability (GA) of Virtual Linux Desktop (VLD) as an alternative to Microsoft’s desktop software.
The VLD runs everything from open standards-based email, office software, social networking, unified communication and any other software to any laptop, browser or mobile device from a virtual desktop login on a Linux-based server.
Jeff Smith, vice president of open source and Linux middleware for IBM spoke with online tech magazine LinuxInsider that “The solution is a virtual desktop that includes a collection of collaboration software from IBM’s Lotus organization. You get all the collaboration capability you would need for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations and text; unified communications, things that allow you to connect voice, video and text oriented-collaboration; social networking things like blogs and wikis and, of course, tried and true things like e-mail, group calendaring and all that stuff.”
Smith said that the range of application available with VLD is a key element of the stack. “If you look up the cost, if it comes with all that stuff, particularly if you get it from Microsoft, all of it together represents a big cost … for the licenses for the software; the hardware required to run it, as well as the support required to maintain it,” he said
According to Smith VLD is based on Virtual Bridges technology that allows a user to take the desktop, client side portion of a software stack, substantiate it in a virtual system on a serve and then remote interface to any device that a user wants to use it.
“It’s called virtual ‘VDI’ (virtual desktop infrastructure). There’s been a lot of interest in VDI lately. It’s not a new concept from an innovation perspective, but a lot of people are realizing now that the advances in network bandwidth and server capability and virtualization allow us to do that now in ways that removed a lot of inhibitors that existed in the past,” he explained.
IBM claim that the savings for businesses using VLD as opposed to Microsoft Office could be as much as $800 per users. The company also claims that companies will save $358 on hardware because they won’t have to upgrade to support Vista of Office 2007.
IBM say that businesses will be able to boost their green credentials due to less power output. This will also save businesses around $40 to $145 per user due to power cost reductions, and a further $20 to $73 per users from reduced ir conditioning requirements.
“One of the reasons people will take a look at this is because the potential to save money is quite substantial. If you don’t have applications and data resident on the client end, and whatever client device you’re using acts like an intelligent network terminal, then the need for deskside support falls dramatically. That’s one of the most expensive things to provide in today’s world, particularly given how dispersed everyone is,” Smith said.
VLD will cost businesses $4,900 for a 1,000 user deployment according to IBM. The reason for the low cost is the Linux-based technology, Smith concluded.