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MokaFive ships Virtual Desktop super-app

By Tom Jowitt, TechWorld
May 21, 2008 10:11 AM ET

TechWorld - Desktop virtualization has a new kid on the block after U.S. startup MokaFive commercially launched its MokaFive Virtual Desktop Solution on Tuesday.

The company is touting Version 1.0 of MokaFive's Virtual Desktop Solution as a complete virtual desktop package. It aims to give IT administrators a centralized management system, and allows for the creation, deployment, securing, updating and managing of virtual desktops, which it calls 'LivePCs.'

These LivePCs can be executed on any x86-based desktop or laptop, or even from portable storage devices such as a USB stick or even an iPod. VMware offered something similar last year.

The LivePC is a cross platform product that can run on both Windows XP and Vista, as well as Macintosh Leopard. It also runs on a stripped-down Linux operating system called BareMetal Linux, which if used, allows companies to save on multiple Windows licences.

The company says that as MokaFive Virtual Desktop Solution is delivered as a service, IT administrators do not need to invest in or manage new infrastructure.

Automated updates and security patches can be easily rolled out thanks to an administrative console, which can also monitor every single LivePC. Users can also run multiple LivePCs on a single machine, one for work (loaded with work-based applications for example), and one for home (with games).

Faster launches are also touted, thanks to MokaFive's Predictive Fetch technology, which the company claims makes its virtual computers start up faster and update quicker - in seconds rather than minutes - compared to competitor offerings. The ability to carry out local execution from a cached image of the LivePC, also means users can work offline, with no dependence on a constant network connection.

MokaFive says that its LivePCs are "self healing", in that they can recover from malware or spyware with a simple reboot. For example, if a particular LivePC becomes infected, the user reboots and the operating system and applications are automatically restored to their original clean state. Even better, all documents and data remains intact and unaffected.

"MokaFive's 'secret sauce' is separating the System State from the User State in a LivePC," said Bill Demas, President and CEO of MokaFive, in an emailed response to Techworld. "The system data is the responsibility of the administrator who manages and updates it, while the user data (documents, settings, etc.) is owned by the user. Upon reboot, the system image is always the pristine one, while the latest user data changes remain unaffected."

"MokaFive has two modes of control over whether or not a user is able to access and use their LivePC environment," said Demas. "We can temporarily revoke or disable access privileges in case the user loses the access key."

"We also have a poison pill mode that will erase all the private data for a particular LivePC as well as all the cached information. The LivePC then disappears and sends a message to the user detailing why their LivePC was taken away."

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