Open Virtual Desktop 3.0 as an alternative to VDI


Application Diversity

If you run several application servers  – including Windows machines  – they should show up here given a correct IP configuration. The applications hosted on the application servers appear in the admin area of the web interface below Applications (Figure 3). However, they are not published automatically.

Figure 3: The application server hosting the respective applications published by the admin.

You also can add applications to application groups. Useful wizards exist to help you do this and to help you publish applications. To define who can use the published applications, go to the user management section of the web interface. Groups (by default, all_users ) are used to assign a specific set of applications to each user. Advanced configuration settings, for session management or authentication types, are located in the Configuration section. In addition to standard username/password-based authentication, OVD supports CAS, RemoteUser, or token-based authentication (Figure  4).

Figure 4: OVD supports different types of authentication.

Redirecting Printers and Drives

The most important settings for each user session define what the user can do in the web client, redirect client drives and printers, and set up shared drives. They are located in Configuration | Session Settings . Among other things, you can set the color depth for RDP (default: 16 bpp). The ability to integrate local drives and printers is a new feature of version 3.0.

Incidentally, the web client supports a portal mode besides desktop mode and will offer an HTML5 mode in the future. You can define which mode the user sees in a client session in Remote Desktop settings on the Configuration | Session Settings page (Figure 5), where remote applications can be enabled or disabled, as well.

Figure 5: Remote desktop settings in OVD.

Additionally, in the server settings below Configuration , you can define whether and how new application servers are added to the setup, whether to use automatic registration, and specify the FQDN, or IP address range, of authorized servers.

Below Configuration | System Settings , admins will find a number of interesting options, including an extensive set of policies for delegating administrative tasks. Furthermore, the use of software modules can be enabled or disabled as required. The first page (Index ) in the admin interface acts as a dashboard and shows the main operating states at a glance. Here, you can toggle between Production Mode and Maintenance Mode , in which no user sessions are delivered, among other things.

The Ulteo Web Client

The web client with Ulteo desktop mode or, alternatively, portal mode is available at https://Session-Manager/ovd after installation of the web client. With the current web client, you need the Java plugin for your specific browser, but that will no longer be the case with the HTML5 version.

Once these conditions are met, users can log on to the web client. Pressing Advanced opens up further login options, including client mode (mode) for desktop mode (Figure 6), portal mode or HTML5, localizations, and choice of keyboard layout or full-screen mode. The Ulteo Desktop can also access all available shares or network drives on the local client.

Figure 6: The Open Virtual "Desktop."

Working in desktop mode is a smooth experience on the local network, thanks to RDP and Java. Usability over the Internet depends on many factors, but RDP is unlikely to keep pace with a real VDI solution based on Spice or VMware.

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