Wednesday, February 19, 2014

My Take on the Recent VMware and Google Announcement

At the recent VMware Partner Exchange event, VMware and Google announced an "expanded relationship" to deliver Windows desktops to Google Chromebooks using VMware's Blast HTML5 technology. This announcement gave me a distinct feeling of déjà vu: way back in 2011, when Google first introduced the Chromebook, they had Citrix on stage demoing access to Windows applications using an HTML5 client. Later that year, at the Google Atmosphere event, Google themselves demoed Ericom AccessNow on center state - here is a video of that demonstration. Given that the recent announcement did not include exclusivity, it appears that Google is simply giving a nod to the latest company to support remote access via HTML5.

VMware's Cloud and DaaS announcements in the same press release are also nothing new. Ericom's DaaS partners, such as nGenx, have been offering access to Cloud hosted desktops from Chromebooks for years: here is the nGenx announcement from 2012. Even Desktone, the company purchased by VMware to form the basis of their DaaS offering, was an Ericom partner, and utilized Ericom technology for this exact purpose - see this announcement on Desktone's own website. This announcement even explicitly mentions Google Chromebooks! Moreover here is a video of a Desktone engineer demoing AccessNow on a Chromebook back in 2011! It's worth noting that the new VMware/Desktone offering is still months away.

In fact, VMware will be offering less than Ericom has been providing for three years: VMware Horizon View and VMware Blast only provide access to complete Windows desktops. Ericom AccessNow, on the other hand, provides access to both Windows desktops, and to specific applications (as shown in both the Google and Desktone videos). This is a crucial feature since most Chromebook users don't want to be forced to use a second Windows desktop on top of their ChromeOS desktop, just to access their Windows applications.

Given all this, I can only conclude that the recent VMware and Google announcement is just good PR. That's perfectly OK, but let’s not make it more than it really is.

Click here to learn more about Ericom AccessNow for Google Chromebooks.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Journey to Ericom AccessNow 3 And Beyond

Back at the beginning of 2011, we released Ericom AccessNow 1.0 as the first HTML5 Remote Access product. While we were working on it, my biggest concern was: "Is browser-based remote access going to be fast enough for everyday use?" I still recall my delight the first time I saw AccessNow in action, and thought "Hey, this is really good!" And indeed, since then many organizations have purchased AccessNow, and have deployed it to their users.

In 2013, we set ourselves another ambitious goal: to transform AccessNow performance from good to great. We realized that in order for HTML5 Remote Access to break through, and become the predominant method for remotely accessing Windows desktops and applications, it must provide the same level of performance that until now has only been provided by native remote access clients.

To that end, we rethought and updated almost every aspect of the product: the communication protocol, the browser-based client and the server-side component - they were all significantly enhanced and optimized. We researched every advance in browser technology, and utilized many of them. In particular, we applied many of the lessons we've learned over the years from our Blaze RDP acceleration solution.

I'm now, again, delighted with what we've been able to achieve: Ericom AccessNow 3 and newer is the fastest HTML5 Remote Access solution on the market. Moreover, it provides performance that is on par or exceeds that of most native RDP clients, as well as user experience enhancements (such as auto-resizing). And it's an order of magnitude faster than the original version of AccessNow.

When you combine all the benefits that AccessNow 3 provides over native clients - such as high performance anywhere, anytime access, from most any device, without being required to download, install and configure anything - it becomes obvious that HTML5 Remote Access is the future of remote access to Windows desktops and applications!

Click here for more information about the latest version of Ericom AccessNow.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

SAP Business One Instantly Webified and Cloud-Enabled with Ericom AccessNow

One of the main benefits of HTML5-based remote access to Windows applications is that it effectively provides turnkey webification of these applications. When used with Ericom AccessNow, most any Windows application can instantly become a Web app, without requiring any changes to the application itself. Simply install the application onto an RDP host, either on premise or in the Cloud, and configure Ericom AccessNow to access that host – job done.

SAP Business One Product Evangelist Richard Duffy recently did just that, in order to transform SAP Business One into a Web app that can be accessed from most any browser on most any device, including mobile devices:

Using Ericom AccessNow, Richard Duffy was able to provide simple, anywhere access to SAP Business One, thus enabling improved productivity and facilitating BYOD.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Introducing the Fastest, Free RDP Client for Google Chrome and Chromebooks

Yes, we've released a new remote access client for the Google Chromebook / Chromebox. No, this client is not AccessNow. In fact, this client is not HTML5 - it is a native client. "But wait", you may say, "How is this possible? Isn't the Chromebook restricted to only run web apps?" The answer is that the Chromebook is indeed restricted to web apps, but it also supports web apps implemented as native clients, in addition to HTML5. Let me explain:

Google Native Client, NaCl for short, is a new technology for packaging cross-platform native executables so that they can run safely within the browser. Such clients can provide the performance of regular native applications, coupled with the security and ease of deployment of web apps. What makes this especially cool is that NaCl is fully supported on Chromebooks / Chromebox. For more information about NaCl, this Wikipedia article provides a good overview.

Using the NaCl technology, we packaged our acclaimed Blaze RDP acceleration remote access technology, as a web app. This new product, called AccessToGo for Chrome, is available directly from the Chrome Web Store. You can download it and use it for free as a high performance RDP client. That's right, you can use it to connect directly to any RDP host without installing any special component on the server-side. And for even greater performance, you can purchase the Blaze Server for x10 speed boost.

Will AccessToGo for Chrome replace AccessNow? Of course not. In the same way that we provide both native AccessToGo clients and also AccessNow for mobile platforms - both iOS and Android - we are now providing both options for Chromebooks as well. In an upcoming blog post I will provide a set of criteria that will help you chose the Ericom RDP client that is most appropriate for your specific needs.

Click here for more information about Ericom AccessToGo for Chrome or download it directly from the Chrome Web Store.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Google Chromebooks in the News

Google Chromebooks seem to be all over the news lately. At Ericom we have a particular interest in Chromebooks, and have been working with Google to deliver remote access solutions for that platform. A number of organizations and educational institutions are now using Ericom AccessNow, our HTML5 client, to gain remote access to Windows desktops and applications from Chromebooks. Examples of successful Chromebooks + Ericom AccessNow deployments include: Quality Distribution, Inc., a major transportation and services company, Richland School District Two and others.

Here’s a collection of what I consider to be the most important and interesting Chromebook related news items from recent weeks:
  1. According to Google, "there are now 2,000 schools using Chromebooks for Education - twice as many as 3 months ago"
  2. In a Bloomberg interview, Jim Wong, Acer president says Chromebooks account for up to 10% of Acer's US shipments
  3. In addition, Acer may release a $99 Chromebox. In my opinion, a device at this price-point could be a significant driver for ChromeOS adoption
  4. HP have released the first Chromebook with a 14" screen, joining Samsung, Acer and Lenovo on the list of Chromebook manufacturers
  5. The Samsung Chromebook is the best-selling laptop on Amazon (ahead of Apple MacBook)
  6. ZDNet comparative review: Surface RT vs. Samsung Chromebook: On the road
  7. Chromebook Customer Panel: Virtualization – three school districts discuss how they are using Chromebooks with Ericom AccessNow
Click here for more information about using Google Chromebooks with Ericom AccessNow.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

IT Windows Pro Reviews Ericom AccessNow, And More

On October 18th 2012, IT Windows Pro magazine published a review of Ericom AccessNow 2.0, our HTML5 remote access solution. Independent IT consultant Russell Smith installed and tested the product. His conclusions: "Using AccessNow is an ideal way to provide remote desktop access with HTML5, which is supported by most modern web browsers" and "[AccessNow is] Perfect for giving users access to remote desktops from systems where client software can't be installed". He gave Ericom AccessNow 2.0 a score of 4 out of 5.

Ericom AccessNow was also discussed in a ZDNet article covering the new Google Chromebooks built by Samsung. In this article Ericom AccessNow is highlighted as a means to protect existing investments in Windows applications when switching to Chromebooks: "Trucking firm, Quality Distribution Inc. (QDI), and the aforementioned Richland and Hanover school districts, Kingston University and the University of Connecticut all use Ericom's Accessnow."

For more information about Ericom AccesNow, click here.

Friday, September 14, 2012

HTML5 Remote Access Checklist

It appears that almost every company involved in VDI and Terminal Services is coming out with an HTML5 remote access client. In reality, this is not the case. There are, in fact, only a few HTML5 remote access clients that are actually available for use at this time. The rest are just betas or tech previews, or even just videos showing a proof of concept or a mock-up. Either way, a release date for an actual product is usually unavailable. As a result, we generally encounter little or no competition for Ericom AccessNow.

Still, prospective customers often do ask us how Ericom AccessNow compares with other HTML5 remote access products (existing or vaporware.) For this reason we have created a checklist that can be used for comparison and evaluation. Given the rapidly growing interest in this type of offering, I have decided to publish this checklist here. I've pre-filled the AccessNow column, and have set aside an additional empty column for whichever product you choose to evaluate:

Ericom AccessNow Alternative Product
Generally available Version 2.1
Supported host types
Terminal Services
Remote PC
Supported client platforms
Android tablets
Android phones
BB Playbook
Supported browsers
IE6 - IE8 requires Google Chrome Frame
Supported connection brokers
Citrix XenApp/XenDesktop (BETA)
VMware View
Quest (DELL) vWorkspace
Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect
Standalone (no broker)
Publish desktops
Publish apps
Audio recording
Print to local
File transfer
SSL VPN / Proxy tunneling
Clipboard redirection
URL redirection
Pass credentials (SSO)
Pass app parameters
Embed in frame
Play video
Smooth scroll
Fast response
Variable image quality
Multiple locales
Chinese/Japanese/Korean support
RDP hotkeys
Chromebook special keys

I hope you find this checklist useful. Please let me know if you think I've left anything out.