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Another Start-up, Another Desktop Virtualization Scheme

MokaFive, another me-too desktop virtualization company, this one started in 2005 by three Stanford PhDs and their professor, Moka chief scientist Monica Lam, is in the process of pushing out its widgetry, which works on Windows, Mac and Linux. 

It started going commercial a few weeks ago with a preview paid for by angel money supplied by Sun founder Vinod Khosla and Sun’s old strategy chief Bill Raduchel. 

It brags that the stuff, in pilot since last year, is built on 10 years of research at Stanford University funded by the National Science Foundation and has 15 patents pending.

MokaFive, which some may remember as the stealth Moka5, calls its solution Virtual Desktop Solution, which is expected to go live in June, and says, in Cloudspeak, that it will manage a company’s virtual systems from its own data centers if you like. 

Its solution, inspired by Sun’s SunRay architecture with SAP’s sales force as a key customer, is based on what it calls LivePC, which can be any operating system and applications stack sent down to any desktop or device, even an iPod or cell phone. 

The SunRay bit is that you can take it with you to any PC or thin client complements of a USB Flash drive, a facility it figures is a key differentiator. 

MokaFive claims it will run at normal, better-than-VMware, desktop speed either on- or offline (its VMs execute locally) although it’s using the free VMware Player right now to do it. 

VMware got started at Stanford too and Lam has the office next door to fellow prof and VMware co-founder Mandel Rosenblum, VMware CEO Diane Green’s husband. 

It promises faster launches, automatic updates and spyware and malware self-healing as well as enhanced security using no operating system complements of its Fedora-based BareMetal Linux distribution. 

The per-user pricing is still unclear, but promises to be competitive even if it’s not, as it says, open source. It is currently offering a free Express download, expecting to charge only for its Professional version. It has a number of LivePC images available for test. 

Like Desktone, another desktop virtualizer, MokaFive imagines its stuff being handled by services providers. It streams its images and is supposed to be able to support hundreds of users on a single server. The widgetry downloads only the necessary changes. 

VMware has ACE and Microsoft bought Kidaro. 

MokaFive quotes the Gartner figure saying that 660 million desktops will be virtual by 2011, up from five million in 2006.


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