As you can imagine, we love connecting with people to talk about connection brokers! In a recent interview with Virtual Strategy Magazine, a premier publication covering virtualization, our CEO, Karen Gondoly discussed deploying a vendor neutral solution, our plans for the future and how we differentiate our product. Have a look at the QA below!
First, Karen, can you tell Virtual-Strategy Magazine readers in a broad sense the purpose of a connection broker in a hosted desktop environment?
KG: A connection broker lies at the heart of any hosted desktop deployment, physical or virtual, and is the key component for assigning resources to end users and controlling the end user experience. It’s where all the datacenter pieces are tied together, and all the decisions are made about who can access what and how.
Why would an organization consider a vendor neutral connection broker?
KG: Most virtualization stacks provide a built-in connection broker, which is adequate for managing their single stacks. So why would you ever look elsewhere? In many cases, including an independent third-party connection broker into your design from the get-go can future-proof and improve your hosted desktop solution. A vendor neutral solution gives organizations the flexibility to support a wider range of users and use cases.
Hosted desktop solutions are not like T-shirts. There is no “one size fits all” solution. Vendor neutral connection brokers are designed to integrate different levels of solutions into a single management layer, from Remote Desktop Services, to VDI, to virtualized workstations, to high-power dedicated workstations. In addition, they can provide the level of access control needed to ensure that all resources are used to their maximum potential.
How does your company, Leostream, differentiate its product from other connection brokers?
KG: The Leostream Connection Broker is a hosted-desktop connection-management platform. What does that mean? At a high level, we provide tools that allow our customers to manage user assignments and connections to hosted desktop environments using whatever platforms they choose. Our product has been called the “broker to rule them all” and the “ultimate connection broker”. We’ve received these titles because of our ability to support a wide range of hosted desktop initiatives, whether they want a virtual or physical infrastructure, a publicly or privately hosted data center, a Windows or Linux operating system, or any of a number of high-performance display protocols. We’ve seen it all and can handle it all!
The Leostream solution is more than a tool for providing remote access to applications and desktops. What sets us apart is a suite of functionality based on plans, policies, and pooling options that give IT complete control over their hosted resources.
With our software, you can get into the real nitty gritty of provisioning desktops and controlling user assignments. For example, do you need to track idle times and set parameters that automatically log users off after a certain grace period? We’re good at that! Do you need to build pools of resources and share desktops? We can help optimize application usage.
What platforms does the Leostream Connection Broker support?
KG: We work with all the popular platforms, and probably some that you’ve never even heard of! To start, we support vSphere; XenServer; Hyper-V; OpenStack; HPE Moonshot Systems; AWS EC2; any physical workstation, desktop, or laptop (Windows or Linux). The list goes on and on. We integrate with the APIs of several platforms, like vSphere and HPE Moonshot Systems, to manage those resources. Leostream is not tied to a particular protocol, instead we have partnered with the providers of popular options such as HP RGS, Teradici PCoIP, Exceed onDemand, NoMachine, RemoteFX, HDX, VNC, and many others to give our customers the ability to choose the best solution for their end-users.
What does the typical deployment look like for Leostream customers?
KG: While we got our start from humble beginnings, today we manage some of the world’s largest VDI deployments in banking, government, oil and gas, healthcare, and education. It really comes down to our flexibility that makes us key to successful rollouts. Maybe the customer has a mixture of hypervisors, or a mixture of virtual and physical hosted desktops. Maybe they have a mixture of Windows and Linux, and a mixture of display protocols.
Large enterprises that need to exist outside of a standard VMware or Citrix stack typically make up our customer profiles. Plus, we have formed strong relationships with HP/HPEs and Teradici, optimizing our solution with their high-performance display protocols (Remote Graphics Software and PCoIP, respectively). With that said, a fair amount of our business comes from supporting connections to graphics-rich/mission critical applications.
Can this technology be used as part of a cloud initiative or is the focus on-prem?
KG: Primarily our broker has been deployed as an on-premises enterprise solution, but we’re seeing more hybrid and cloud rollouts. Leostream is now being used to enable Desktops-as-a-Service (DaaS) for organizations and managed service providers (MSPs) looking to host VDI in AWS or OpenStack clouds.
Speaking of OpenStack and open source, do you see it as a good platform for VDI? What about Linux?
KG: We are fairly bullish on OpenStack VDI. Personally, I think OpenStack is an ideal platform for those seeking alternatives outside the traditional stacks. OpenStack VDI is definitely ready for prime time, and the Leostream Connection Broker is a critical enabler of this type of solution.
We are no stranger to Linux VDI. In fact, we see it all the time, because we are one of the few connection brokers that can handle Linux. Many of our customers run high-power workstations and applications that run only on Linux. Since Linux and OpenStack are both open source there is a natural tie in.
Looking ahead, what types of trends do you see shaping the company’s future?
KG: Our focus has always been on minimizing vendor lock-in. The key moving forward is to continue to evolve our product in the areas of desktop virtualization and hosted desktop connection management that are ripe for innovation while keeping product flexibility front and center. Most consider choosing a VDI platform to be a long-term strategic decision. And with all the time, effort, and money it takes to build out VDI, it certainly is. We tell our customers that using Leostream allows you to future-proof your hosted desktop deployment. Do you want to explore cloud desktops or new hardware form factors like Moonshot while still leveraging your existing VDI stack? We can help! That’s the sort of flexibility we provide, and will continue to provide.