Double Take to offer desktop virtualisation for SMEs

Flex to offer more flexibility and security at lower cost claims company

Double Take Software is set to offer desktop virtualisation to the smaller business, saying that the approach taken by the likes of VMware and Citrix is too focused on the demands of the large enterprise.

The new product, Double-Take Flex has been designed to deliver virtual desktops to users, provisioning hundreds of machines from one master image. It uses a centrally stored desktop image, which is then streamed to users' desktop machine. Processing is carried out on the user's machine, while all files are saved centrally.

According to Ian Masters, Double Take Software's UK sales director, it's the management overhead that's crippling for smaller organisations. "Managing desktop environments is time-intensive and costly - that's the problem that we're trying to solve."

One of the most appealing areas of the system is the ability to provide a degree of personalisation. "With Flex, you can boot from a set of images for different departments, for example, finance, marketing and sales". He said that the system allowed the user to sit at any machine but thanks to a partnership with software company RES, companies could implement a degree of personalisation - and do very slickly. There's little overhead, he said. "There's one image for the boot and the personalisation, RES Powerfuse works in central file while Active Directory will deliver the workplace setting.

Masters said that the system could also provide an additionally layer of security by encouraging users not to save files locally. "We recommend that they remove the local disks from the desktop so that they have nowhere to store data. It's greener, everything is backed up and it's quicker to deliver upgrades." He admitted however that some organisations were reluctant to go down this route, there being a psychological block to removing hard disks. "That's why it's only a recommendation," he said.

The Double-Take Flex solution is made up of a Management Server console, a Storage Server console and the Double-Take Flex clients. Double-Take Flex is priced at £99 per desktop client session.

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