Wyse has launched a protocol accelerator can speed up remote virtual desktops regardless of the distance between it and the host data centre, helping address challenges encountered by companies using cloud computing or virtual clients in remote locations.

Just launched in the UK, Wyse is calling the protocol the Virtual Desktop Accelerator (VDA), and it is claiming a three-fold performance increase. It touts VDA as a way to improve the end user experience, cut down on data centre costs, and make best possible use of the available network bandwidth, thereby making the virtual desktop solution suitable for remote sites, branch offices, public and private clouds, or field-based users.

Wyse feels that users of virtual desktops or thin clients can sometimes come off second best due to the poor network performance for thin computing protocols can act to reduce the end-user experience. This often results in businesses limiting the deployment, or going down the expensive route of assigning data centre resources, undertaking network upgrades, or installing hardware accelerators.

"Until the introduction of Wyse Virtual Desktop Accelerator, one of our customers needed to maintain 8 data centers to service their global client base," said Tarkan Maner, President and CEO of Wyse Technology in a statement. "Today, they can service that same constituency with 4 data centers, all at the same high level of service. The introduction of Wyse VDA extends the boundaries of data centres by 2-3 times. This represents not only significant financial savings, but also a substantial reduction in energy consumption and corresponding carbon emissions."

"The whole approach of Wyse is thin computing," said David Angwin, director of marketing (EMEA). "We look to prove the benefits from centralised applications and virtual desktops, which is reduced cost, better security, easier management, and much lower carbon footprint."

"As an organisation, we work to address the limitations that stop the adoption of thin computing," he told Techworld. "Over years, we have introduced a number of software products to address traditional limitations of the thin client approach. The VDA addresses poor network performance, jitter, packet loss, and latency."

"In a typical environment, running say up to 150 milliseconds, the performance of virtual desktops can be fine, but once you start getting beyond 100 milliseconds, the user experience starts to deteriorate quite quickly," he said. "This VDA addresses that, making the thin computing approach viable for users where you previously would not have deployed this type of solution. It also removes the need for remote data centres."

So how does it work? "VDA uses of a combination of techniques including tunnelling, proxies and error correction," explained Angwin. "We take Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and Independent Computing Architecture (ICA), as well as VMware View, and use proxy tunnelling and error correction. We have improved performance up to three times and in some cases have seen even better than that. But the important thing with this is that we are not changing the protocol, we are sitting in the middle and accelerating what is happening in between the server and thin client."

VDA is built-in to the Wyse ThinOS 6.4 devices and select Wyse thin clients, and for PCs running the Microsoft Windows XP Pro operating system. Software is installed at the server end and on virtual desktop or Citrix server.

VDA is available now and the download comes with 30 day evaluation licence built in.

UK pricing for Citrix XenApp and Microsoft Terminal Server is £1,568 per server, excluding VAT. For virtual desktops the cost is £53 ($86) RRP per desktop, excluding VAT.

There is a 38-second video demonstration of the VDA solution in action on YouTube.