Release: Neocleus NeoSphere 2.1

Neocleus recently announced the next release of NeoSphere, its desktop and laptop management platform and another Neocleus product that uses the company’s second generation Type 1, bare metal client hypervisor.

NeoSphere 2.1 allows IT managers to centrally control multiple operating system (OS) instances that execute locally as virtual machines (VMs) on distributed laptops and desktops. Neocleus is demonstrating NeoSphere 2.1 at the VMworld Conference, August 31 – September 3, in Booth 1527 at the Moscone Center in San Franscico, CA. The product was first announced in April, 2009 and began shipping to customers and partners in May, 2009.

NeoSphere 2.1 enhancements include performance improvements, better support for popular disk encryption, and the introduction of a client GUI. NeoSphere 2.1 offers the broadest hardware support of any client virtualization product in the industry with the ability to support all Intel vPro and AMD VT-D enabled laptops and desktops.

The most prominent use cases customers are addressing with NeoSphere 2.1 include:

  • Side by side execution of two separate and isolated OS instances, running locally as virtual machines on a PC. One instance can be a 100 % secure locked-down operating environment containing all the corporate applications, data, network connections, and hardware configurations. The other OS instance can run an “open” image with applications that have a high intrusion threat such as music sharing software, games and social networking websites. With NeoSphere 2.1, IT can be assured that any intrusions or threats that come into the “open” OS instance cannot permeate the “locked-down” OS instance.
  • Operating two separate corporate images side by side on the same laptop or desktop; ideal for running two environments on separate, secure networks, managing application migration during mergers and acquisitions, and multi-project initiatives or environments with outsourced workers.
  • Running two versions of Microsoft Windows natively on the same machine to allow legacy applications that have not yet been updated to the upcoming Windows 7 to be used, while end users also leverage the benefits of the more current operating environment in a separate VM.
  • Creating new efficiencies in desktop and laptop management by delivering a single “golden” image to a variety of different hardware platforms; thus, dramatically reducing the amount of time necessary to prepare and test the corporate OS environment prior to delivering it to end users.
  • Granular control of the hardware components on the desktop or laptop, from a centralized, policy-based administration system allowing IT to centrally turn “on” and “off” devices on the target end user machine without ever touching the machine. For instance a doctor’s laptop can be centrally configured to allow a patient to read records from their PC but when trying to print the records out to a non hospital printer, those ports have been disabled. The doctor can then toggle to a “personal” environment where IT has allowed the use of a printer, USB ports, copy/paste, etc.

NeoSphere 2.1 leverages the company’s second generation Type 1 client hypervisor to address IT and user demands. The product allows two fully functional virtual machines, or “spheres” to run simultaneously and natively on a single desktop or laptop. Each sphere is centrally controlled by IT policies and requires no incremental hardware in the data center. Spheres are distributed to PCs where they execute locally in 100% secure isolated VMs. Users seamlessly move between environments without any degradation in performance. The spheres have full access to the power of the underlying hardware, including native access to the RAM, CPU, hard disks, network cards, USB devices, touch screens, and other devices attached to the local desktop or laptop.

Using NeoSphere 2.1, IT administrators centrally control each sphere as though they were sitting directly at the PC, including the manipulation of all aspects of the underlying hardware. For example, the Desktop Administrator can centrally turn off all USB devices for the corporate image on each of the desktops in the organization. With the flick of a switch, they can selectively turn these back on for select users as well. They can also transition hardware components from one environment to another. With NeoSphere 2.1, a DVD drive can easily be “moved” from the personal environment to the corporate one, or vice versa, or the Desktop Administrator can make it available to both environments.

NeoSphere 2.1 works with existing systems and tools familiar to desktop administrators, and there is tight integration with applications such as Microsoft Active Directory and SQL Server. The system is designed to work in conjunction with all OS patching and updating products as well including existing change and configuration management systems such as Microsoft SCCM, Symantec Altiris Client Management Suite, Tivoli, HP Radia, BigFix, Novell ZENworks, and others. In addition, NeoSphere works in conjunction with existing application virtualization solutions such as Microsoft App-V, VMware ThinApp, and InstallFree.

About the author

I'm a blogger, entrepreneur, conference organizer, social media consultant, startup advisor and allround web addict, based in Belgium, Europe. I'm a writer at TechCrunch and managing editor of Virtualization.com.

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