Sphere 3D brings hyper-convergence to virtual desktops

Sphere3D VDI architecture

Sphere 3D Corp. today announced a new release of its V3 virtual application and desktop suites, targeting three different deployment scenarios ranging from large enterprise to small branch office.

Sphere 3D develops software that enables virtual desktop users to access applications and virtual desktops through a unified portal with single sign-on from any device. “A desktop is recognized as just an application layer,” said Peter Bookman, global strategist at Sphere 3D. “The desktop can be distributed using whatever appliance makes the most sense,” and managed from a single pane of glass.

New capabilities in the V3 product families include:

  • A multi-site architecture for businesses with multiple locations. This provides the ability to fail over from site to site and also makes V3’s distributed hybrid cloud architecture more reliable as the number of locations increases, the company said.
  • A scalable architecture that enables users to change and grow their VDI deployment as their needs change.
  • Sphere 3D’s Desktop Cloud Orchestrator (DCO), a management suite that enables administrators to drop in appliances with simple installation and management. The company said DCO makes management so straightforward that existing desktop administrators can easily switch over to maintain virtual desktops and applications. Admins can also allocate storage locally or virtually to optimize performance. DCO integrates with VMware Inc.’s Horizon VDI manager.
  • Compatibility with the company’s Glassware 2.0 containerization and SnapServer family of storage appliances. Glassware 2.0 is a micro-server and virtualization technology that reduces the size and cost of appliances by delivering the most commonly used Windows desktop applications in a resource-optimized manner across a variety of devices, thereby increasing the application ecosystem that can be virtualized. Snap storage devices let users flexibly deploy and manage hybrid and distributed storage at the file and block level, moving between on-promise and cloud resources.

Mix and match

Sphere 3D is packaging the new release in three forms aimed at different computing environments:

  • V3 Smart Nodes are targeted at large organizations looking to build hyper-converged appliances using VMWare’s VSAN technology for clustered storage. It offers the ability for appliances to share file systems for more efficient scaling. Smart Nodes come in a 2U form factor with four nodes in total.  By leveraging new functionality within VSAN, such as stretch clusters, Smart Nodes can be a simple platform for hosting distributed hybrid architectures, the company said.
  • V3 End User Computing (EUC) Nodes are intended for use in both single- and multiple- location deployments, including remote and branch-office settings. They also come in a 2U form factor but only require a single node to start.  With an ability to failover from site to site, they can be used to create a network of distributed sites that each back up each other.
  • V3 Flex Nodes are designed for branch locations of as few as 10 users. They use VMWare’s policy management layer to offer a choice of user experiences.  Flex Nodes can also be configured to provide offline access to virtual desktops.

The combination of options “lets you drop in appliances that are right-sized and connect them together in whatever way makes sense to you,” Bookman said. “We treat pools as unique to each appliance but you can see all of the appliances and all of the users across the network,” for management and resource allocation.

Image courtesy of Sphere 3D