Network specialist Akamai has developed a managed service for optimizing the delivery of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) over WANs. The solution, a derivative of Akamai’s IP Application Accelerator, works with virtual desktop products by market leaders Citrix, VMware and Microsoft. Fifteen percent of all enterprise desktops will be VDI clients by 2015, Gartner predicts, despite the fact that traditional Internet delivery inherently limits the effectiveness of this approach. Performance suffers as clients move further from the host data center and companies deliver VDI to many users via the same connection.
Akamai touts the results of a Tolly Group study as evidence of the wisdom of its approach. The study was conducted by delivering a Citrix XenDesktop and NetScaler environment from a hosting location in California to various points throughout the United States and Asia. In the U.S., throughput improvement ranged from 5.51 percent to Boca Raton , Fla., to 22.69 percent to Cambridge, Mass. However, throughput improvement to Seoul, Bangalore, India, and Singapore was 171 percent, 178 percent and 706.25 percent, respectively. Akamai’s public-Internet overlay, the company says, also ensures reliable delivery in the cases of natural disasters that can cripple private network connections.
Neil Cohen, Akamai’s director of product marketing, told me another of Akamai’s goals is to enable VDI access anywhere users have an Internet connection, even if it’s not via the corporate network. This notion, dubbed “desktops as a service,” is gaining momentum. Earlier this month at VMworld, IBM announced its Smart Business Desktop on the IBM Cloud service.
The managed service for VDI is part of Akamai’s strategic move to become a bigger part of corporate IT than merely accelerating web-content delivery. At Structure 09, Akamai President Paul Sagan laid out Akamai’s cloud computing case, and the company has teamed with SaaS platform provider OpSource to optimize application delivery via the web.