This blog post is part of a series on supporting power users in a hosted desktop environment. Check out our other posts on mobilizing the workforce and lowering IT costs by sharing applications. You can also learn more by watch our on-demand webinar on  delivering mission critical applications with Leostream and HP RGS.


Linux Penguin.pngThere are a lot of Microsoft® Windows® applications on the market. A lot of them. But, for some users and in some industries, Windows just doesn’t cut it. (Sorry Microsoft!) In Oil & Gas, Engineering, Semiconductor design, and other high-tech fields, power users often utilize graphic-intense applications and Linux is the name of the game.

How can you lower IT costs by hosting applications when those applications run on a Linux operating system, or if you have a mixture of Windows and Linux applications? How do you ensure a seamless end-user experience, while maximizing resource usage and minimizing downtime?

Simple, move those Linux applications into the data center, as well. With the right combination of connection broker and display protocol, a hosted Linux environment can be as simple, seamless, and powerful as a hosted Windows environment.

Managing a Mixed Hosted Windows and Linux Environment

Maybe you’ve virtualized or hosted your Windows desktops in the datacenter long ago, and now you want to tackle Linux. What are some things you need to consider when adding your Linux desktops and applications into that fray?

For one, user logins. Investigate the workflow for both your Windows and Linux users. Does each user have the same login name on their Windows and Linux desktop, or are they different? Do they authenticate against the same type of authentication servers, or do your Linux users come through a NIS server, while your Windows users authenticate against Active Directory? Will users access their Windows and Linux desktops from the same client device, or are they moving between different locations and clients?

Consider all the login scenarios you need to support, then look for a connection broker that simplifies the end-user experience around login. Ideally, you want a hosted desktop solution that users log into once to get access to all of their resources, as well as a solution that provides single sign-on to both Windows and Linux desktops. – Tip: download our eBook on how a connection broker simplifies hosted desktop environmnts.

As another consideration, think about how you want to connect users to their hosted desktop. What level of performance do you need to provide for each desktop? Can you use the same display protocol to connect to Windows and Linux, or do you need to consider different protocols for different operating systems?

Ensure that the connection broker you choose to manage your hosted environment supports all of the display protocols that may come into play in your environment. And, remember, if you are hosting a graphic-intense application on a Linux desktop, you need a display protocol that delivers high-performance. So, what are some options for a Linux hosted desktop solution?

Making Hosted Linux Applications a Reality

As you may have heard, Citrix and VMware recently announced support for Linux virtual machines, to deliver mixed hosted environments within their virtualization stacks. New doesn’t always mean better, however. If you’ve been using Linux for a while, why not use a hosted desktops solution that has been supporting Linux for a while, too? There are several well-established and industry-tested, feature-rich solutions at your fingertips.

In terms of display protocols, HP Remote Graphic Software (HP RGS) has supported high-performance connections to remote Windows and Linux desktops for years. The latest 7.1 release includes even more performance enhancements and tools for collaboration. Don’t let that statement pass you by. Collaboration is a useful, if not required, feature for designers and engineers who typically need access to Linux applications.

A couple other tried-and-true display protocols for Linux desktops are NoMachine and Exceed onDemand. The point is, check the display protocol options and investigate the features included with each protocol, to make sure you choose a solution that provides everything you need.

Don’t be afraid to mix and match, whether that be remote operating systems, display protocols, client devices, etc. Using a vendor neutral connection broker, you can build a hosted environment for Linux applications that works seamlessly with all other resources in your environment and provides the performance your users need to get their jobs done. – Tip: download our guide on choosing and using display protocols.