Qumranet, the commercial sponsor of the KVM virtualisation software, has begun beta-testing a desktop virtualisation system aimed at geographically distributed organisations.

The company's existing Solid ICE desktop virtualisation system was designed to combat performance issues, which continue to be a down-side of desktop virtualisation. Solid ICE Multi-Site takes Qumranet's efforts a step further, dealing with branch offices and remote sites.

Under Solid ICE, the user's desktop runs in a KVM virtual machine in a data centre, and the user accesses it via the SPICE remote rendering software on a thin client or repurposed PC.

Unlike virtualisation companies such as VMware, whose technology was generally designed with server virtualisation in mind, the Solid ICE framework was designed to solve the performance problems inherent in virtualised desktops, Qumranet said.

It supports features such as multiple monitors, bi-directional audio and video for video conference calling and IP telephony, high-definition streaming video and USB.

Solid ICE Multi-Site uses a different client technology, called SPLICE, and uses a different framework.

Administrators at a central data centre create the basic software templates including the operating system and applications used by most employees, while remote offices manage only the variations needed for individual users, such as adding particular applications or configuration changes.

Qumranet is making test software available to some testers, and those interested can register on the company's website.

The company demonstrated the software last month at the BriForum virtualisation conference in Chicago.