Liquidware expands Stratusphere capabilities and adds consumption-based pricing option as Desktop-as-a-Service market escalates

Microsoft shipping their turnkey Windows Virtual Desktop in the spring, where Liquidware is a go-to-market partner, is likely to increase partner opportunities around services.

Liquidware, which makes platform-agnostic Workspace Environment Management solutions, has announced  Stratusphere UX 6.1, the most recent version of their user experience monitoring and diagnostics solution for physical PCs, virtual and cloud-based desktops. The enhanced solution arrives at a time of great momentum for the Desktops-as-a-Service space in which Liquidware plays, which they expect will accelerate further early next year courtesy of Microsoft.

“At the beginning of this year, we thought we saw trends indicated Desktops-as-a-Service emerging in 2019, but it really came to fruition,” said Jason E. Smith, Liquidware’s VP, Product Marketing. “Later, we talked with someone from the Microsoft RDS [Remote Desktop Services] group and realized what Microsoft was doing with RDMI, and all of this came up at Ignite, where Microsoft announced a Windows Virtual Desktop [MWVD] hosted on Azure that is completely turnkey, where customers don’t have to assemble the parts in the cloud.” For us this is critical because we are a Go-to-Market partner with Microsoft. Now they have thrown their hat in the ring and will be shipping in the first quarter a solution to which we are tightly attached.”

Smith acknowledged this is a two-edged sword for partners, but said that the upside is significantly larger than the downside.

“Partners are now scratching their heads on how to make money with Microsoft taking some of this business direct,” he said. “We see a big market developing for integration services and consulting. A lot of our customers are pining for WVD to try as a Proof of Concept, and will switch over if it works. We are Switzerland, and we work with AWS and Citrix too, but see a really strong opportunity here. We’ve got a big partnership community that has done these transitions with our entire suite and can now do that with WVD. This is a real paradigm shift.”

“We are seeing partners add a desktop managed services offering to drive an additional revenue stream from products, and from first-tier desktop support,” said Kevin Cooke, Product Director, Stratusphere Solutions at Liquidware. “Adding a layer in front of DaaS offerings is significant because being able to right size virtual images being purchased becomes very important in these initiatives.”

Cooke said that the newly announced 6.1 version of the Stratusphere software adds some new capabilities to enhance these opportunities.

“Stratusphere 6.0 saw the big architectural changes to the infrastructure to allow it to scale, but there are some significant elements in 6.1, starting with the dashboard builder.” While the product ships with over ten built-in dashboard views, a collection of widgets that can be moved, resized or focused lets users customize additional views based on their own criteria.

“The dashboard interface before was static, while the new one allows you to create whatever dashboard interface you want, Cooke indicated.

Stratusphere 6.1 also adds over 100 spot-check metrics, and applies smart threshold filters to easily identify problems in the environment.

“This includes both new and enhanced functionality,” Cooke said. “Support of VMware Horizon’s Blast protocol is enhanced with extended session details, while Event Log Aggregation, which lets you capture more network-based traffic characteristics, is new. You can now see resources being consumed when a resource goes out on the wire. Some of these are incremental enhancements, but together they advance visibility significantly as it pertains to diagnostics and monitoring.” Trend Microsoft Windows Event Logs, which capture, aggregate and trend specific log event details from Application, System, and Security categories, are a new feature in 6.1.”

“We have a new Process Optimization capability, which allows you to proactively take action to influence and improve the user experience by managing process level and resource optimization in real time on individual workspaces,” Cooke noted. “This is the first time that we have provided this proactive ability to improve productivity and desktop density. Before, we provided visibility only.”

Last, and not least, version 6.1 adds native consumption-based licensing for Amazon Marketplace and Microsoft Azure.

“We are seeing a shift in customers going beyond simple POC phases, and wanting the same workspace analytics for desktops in the cloud as on-prem,” Cooke said. “Running on-prem to monitor workspace that are DaaS delivered doesn’t make sense. We had to follow with the licenses to where customers are running them, so we have added the capability to move from perpetual to consumption-based licenses. It’s the first time we have moved to this consumption-based model.”

Cooke said that whether customers will move to this option en masse, and what the implications would be for revenue opportunities, is somewhat of a wild card.

“It’s hard to say at this point whether we will see this kind of wholesale shift,” he said. “That part of the story is still emerging.”

“This is important because it lets us line up directly up with the customer ask,” Smith said.

This same capability for the Google Cloud is on the roadmap.