Moka5 has taken a different approach. Realizing the power and flexibility of distributed desktop computing and the ease of management of server-centric computing, they have created a hybrid product that combines aspects of both environments. Moka5's LivePC platform is built on the freely available VMware Player.
A LivePC is a virtual machine hosted on a Web server. The LivePC engine is the client software that downloads and starts (plays) the virtual machine. The LivePC engine comes in a portable and bare-metal edition. The portable edition can run on almost any external storage device that has enough capacity to hold the virtual machine, such as USB drives or even iPods. The bare-metal edition is a Linux-based operating system designed to run LivePCs. You install the bare-metal edition on a host machine and run the LivePCs from the host machine. No matter what version of the software you use, the LivePCs are distributed to the client via an XML feed similar to Real Simple Syndication (RSS). If you have a fast connection to the Web server that the LivePC is hosted on, you can run the LivePC before it is finished downloading to the client device, because the LivePC is streamed to the client.
LivePC's streaming also allows you to automatically push changes or patches to the original LivePC. Only the data blocks that have actually changed will be pushed to the client, so there is no need to download the entire LivePC every time there is a change to the original. The best part, on the Web server side, is that only one copy of the LivePC is stored. This copy can then be distributed to many clients via the LivePC engine.
Virtualize your cake and eat it too
Part 1: An alternative ASP model
Part 2: VMware's Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)
Part 3: Moka5's LivePC
Part 4: Helping SMBs benefit from virtualization
About the author: Harley Stagner has been an IT professional for almost eight years. He has a wide range of knowledge in many areas of the IT field, including network design and administration, scripting and troubleshooting. Of particular interest to Harley is virtualization technology. He was the technical editor for Chris Wolf and Erick M. Halter's book Virtualization: From Desktop to the Enterprise and currently writes his own blog at www.harleystagner.com. Ask Harley your server virtualization questions today.