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Wanova, Inc, headquartered in San Jose, California, provides software to help IT organizations manage, support and protect data on desktop and laptop computers. Wanova’s primary product, Wanova Mirage, was designed as an alternative to server-hosted desktop virtualization technologies, combining the centralization and management capabilities of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) with features that allow the system to work for laptops and other WAN-connected desktops. Mirage enables IT organizations to store the complete contents of each personal computer (PC) in the data center for centralized management and data protection. End users execute a locally-cached copy of their centrally-stored PC, which makes it possible for users to use their PC whether or not they are connected to the network. The software includes additional features that optimize the system to work over a wide area network(WAN). Wanova Mirage (now VMware Mirage) software was designed for information technology organizations supporting distributed enterprises and has three primary components: the Mirage Client, Mirage Server and capabilities that optimize network and storage efficiency.
Wanova was founded in January 2008 by Ilan Kessler and Issy Ben-Shaul, previously co-founders of Actona Technologies, which was acquired by Cisco in 2004 and became the foundation for Cisco Wide Area Application Services (WAAS). The company received its first round of funding from Greylock Partners, Carmel Ventures and Opus Capital in the sum of $13 million. As of May 22, 2012 Issy Ben-Shaul announced on Wanova Blog that Wanova has become a part of VMware.
As of February 2011, there is one primary product, Wanova Mirage hybrid desktop virtualization software, which has three components: Wanova Mirage Client, Wanova Mirage Server, and Wanova Network Optimization. The Mirage Client is a small MSI that installs on the PC of an end user, and allows the endpoint to become managed by the Mirage Server. The Mirage Server provides tools for creating, managing and deploying a Base Image, which typically consists of an Operating System (OS) and core applications that an administrator wants to manage centrally, such as Microsoft Office or Antivirus. Mirage Server also manages the backup and restore synchronization process. Distributed Desktop Optimization incorporates capabilities such as deduplication and compression that make the product effective over a low bandwidth, high-latency WAN. Once Mirage is installed, IT administrators maintain a complete, bootable desktop instance in the data center. This instance is hardware agnostic, and can be instantiated on both physical hardware or in a virtual machine. No hypervisor is required when the instance is deployed into PC hardware.
How VMware Mirage Works
Mirage logically splits the PC into individual layers that can be independently managed: a Base Image; a layer including user-installed applications and machine information, such as machine ID; and a layer including user data, files and personalization. In this manner, IT can create a single read-only Base Image, typically including an operating system (OS) and the core applications they will manage centrally, such as Microsoft Office and an antivirus solution. This Base Image can be deployed to the locally-stored copy of each PC, and then synchronized as a whole with the endpoint. Because of the layering, the Image can be patched, updated, and re-synchronized as needed, without overwriting the user-installed applications or data. These features, combined with the network optimizations, create a number of use cases:
- Single Image Management – IT can manage one primary image and synchronize it with thousands of endpoints
- Hardware Migration – By replacing the Base Image associated with an end user’s PC, the user’s desktop, including applications, data, and personalization settings, can be migrated to new hardware, including hardware from a different manufacturer. This process can be used as part of a regular hardware migration process, or to quickly replace a lost, stolen or broken PC.
- Remote repair of a damaged application – By ‘Enforcing’ a Base Image, IT can ensure a remote device exactly matches the primary copy in the data center, and repairing OS or core application problems.
- In place migration from Windows XP to Windows 7 - By replacing the Base Image associated with an end user’s PC, the user’s desktop, including data and personalization settings, can be migrated from Windows XP to Windows 7, over the network and without added infrastructure.
Differences between VMware Mirage and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, or VDI, was initially branded by VMware. The term VDI has enjoyed broader usage, however, and has come to be known as a synonym for server-hosted desktop virtualization, or Hosted Virtual Desktops (Gartner). A typical VDI architecture replaces end users desktops by deploying each desktop on a virtual machine, running on a server in the data center. Users access a view of their desktop via a thin client or other access device, using a vendor-specific protocol. VMware Mirage differs fundamentally from this type of architecture in the following ways:
- No hypervisor required: While Mirage can operate within a Type-1 or Type-2 hypervisor, it is not required. The VMware Mirage client operates as a service within the Windows Operating System (OS).
- Scalability: Because VDI uses centralized servers to handle all processing functions for each desktop, a typical server can support roughly 10-12 users, depending on load. Mirage uses the endpoints for processing, and can consequently scale to a 1500:1 desktop to server ratio.
- Deployment: In most environments, Mirage deployment leverages components an organization already has in place: endpoint PCs, a server, and back-end storage. End users do not change their workflow,
- Network optimizations: Mirage leverages a global single index that enables significant deduplication across all users, reducing network traffic and storage requirements.
- Storage: Because VDI users require synchronous network access to their centralized desktop, performance can be significantly impacted by the type of back end storage. Because Mirage clients run a local instance of the centrally stored desktop, storage is only accessed when synchronization is required. Secondary storage, including lower cost SATA drives, are adequate.
Now that Wanova have become part of VMware, the comparison can become slightly blurred, as Mirage is capable of converting a captured image of an end user's computer into a VMware View virtual desktop, where the user is able to access their own desktop which includes all their files, customization and persona as if they were accessing their original computer.
The software is currently compatible only with Windows OS. There is no native offering for other operating systems such as Linux or Mac OS-X. The software may still be used inside virtual machines running a supported Windows OS on such platforms.
Wanova is Part of VMware Wanova Blog. May 22, 2012
Wanova Mirage 2.0 managing physical, virtual and cloud Windows desktops ZDNet. February 3, 2011
Wanova Makes Mirage Virtual Desktop Solution Enterprise-Ready eWeek. January 25, 2011
TechTarget’s SearchServerVirtualization.com Announces “Best of VMworld” 2010 Award Winners BusinessWire. September 2, 2010
Wanova Redefines Windows Desktop Management and Provisioning eWeek. August 18, 2010
Desktop Virtualization Aids Windows 7 Migration ITBusinessEdge, September 1, 2010
Products of the Week NetworkWorld. May 17, 2010
Startup Wanova Launches Distributed Desktop Virtualization The VAR Guy. March 16, 2010
Wanova Releases Mirage Desktop Virtualization Software eWeek. March 16, 2010
Four Reasons Why VDI Might Not Be For You Search Virtual Desktop. July 8, 2010