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Connection broker broadens thin client horizons

May 8, 2009 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

2X Software has announced what it's touting as the industry's most flexible connection broker for thin clients. The Linux-compatible “2X VirtualDesktopServer” (left) supports desktops hosted on Microsoft, Parallels, VirtualBox, Virtual Iron, VMware, and other virtualization platforms, the company says.

(Click here for a larger view of 2X's VirtualDesktopServer running Outlook on a Linux desktop)

Connection brokers are software programs that maintain a list of available virtual desktops, presenting them to a thin client's user so that he or she can make a selection. Calling its VirtualDesktopServer (VDS) the “first true open virtualization platform connection broker,” 2X says the broker works with Microsoft's terminal and virtual servers, plus other hosts such as Parallels, VirtualBox, Virtual Iron, and VMWare.

When a client requests a virtual desktop, VDS finds a guest on one of the least loaded hosts, starts or restores the guest and then presents the virtual desktop to the user, according to 2X Software. Because VDS uses Microsoft's widely adopted RDP (remote desktop protocol), it is inherently compatible with many different hosts, as 2X points out.

VDS has the following advantages, claims 2X:

  • Publish virtual desktops and applications, rather than installing locally
  • Use the same client to connect to both virtual desktops and terminal server applications
  • Automatically suspend inactive virtual desktops for maximum server efficiency
  • Seamless integration with local desktop & taskbar
  • Publish applications and desktops based on username, group membership or IP
  • Publish Windows applications and virtual desktops onto Linux and Mac clients
  • Publish applications to a web interface
  • Publish applications to a terminal server farm
  • SSL secure connection to applications
  • Automatic redundancy
  • Single sign-on
  • Multiple monitor support
  • Universal printing

The 2X VirtualDesktopServer can present multiple desktops in a tabbed interface
(Click to enlarge)

According to 2X, VDS not only allows delivering a full Windows desktop to a thin client user, but also can be configured to tunnel just a single application to that user. Remotely hosted applications appear just as if they were local, showing up in the user's task bar or desktop, the company says. Alternatively, it's claimed, administrators or power users can benefit from the product's “embedded desktops” mode, pictured above, where multiple virtual desktops may be viewed from one workstation, and switched between using a tabbed interface.


2X VirtualDesktopServer is available now, and versions of the client software are offered for Linux, Windows XP, Windows XP Embedded, Macintosh OS X, and Java. A U3 client is also available, designed to run from a specially formatted USB flash drive.

According to 2X, a test version of VDS is available that can be used free for up to 30 days, providing three simultaneous connections. Pricing of the paid versions depends on the number of servers in a company's network, but starts at $1,190 for a single server, the company says.

More information on VDS may be found on the 2X website, here.

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