Virtual Computer Company LogoVirtual Computer, a distributed desktop virtualization specialist, remains in business expansion mode following the recent VMworld 2011 in Las Vegas. Virtual Computer's NxTop4 is a client-hosted virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution that MSPs can manage centrally. The company claims NXTop4 addresses two of the top challenges facing server-hosted VDI.

Those challenges include:
  1. Hidden server storage costs. Even as storage prices fall, the cost of running VDI can grow as customers shift more and more workloads up to the server.
  2. If you're not connect to the network, you cannot access your virtual machine.
Virtual Computer's NxTop4 claims to address both challenges. First, it virtualizes a users' machines by running a hypervisor on their PCs. That allows users to work when they are disconnected from the network because the hypervisor runs locally.

"It works and feels and functions like a PC, but you can manage multiple PCs centrally," said Virtual Computer Chief Marketing Officer Sham Sao.

Users can also run their corporate and person desktops on a single PC. The program's launcher lets users switch back and forth between the two desktops but keeps the data isolated from one user instance to another. So if one desktop becomes infected, the other will remain intact. Sao claims NxTop4 cuts the cost of server-hosted VDI by more than ten-fold. The hardware infrastructure required to run NxTop4 costs about $8,000 for 1,000 users compared to $800,000 for 1,000 users when using server-hosted VDI, he claims.

Still, the market for VDI remains confusing in some ways. Some MSPs struggle to navigate service provider licensing agreement (SPLA) terms for Microsoft Windows, Office and other applications. Other MSPs aren't sure if their customers will "trust" PC data being moved up to a server or off-premise cloud. But overall, it's clear the VDI market is growing.