Lync plug-in advances workplace collaboration

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workplace collaboration

A new VDI plug-in for Microsoft Lync tested well in Dell environments supported by VMware Horizon View. Credit: Dmitrijs Dmitrijevs

The integration of two formidable trends in IT — social and mobile — is driving workplace collaboration and improvements to the technology that enables it, bringing the modern enterprise into the digital age.

Microsoft Lync 2013 — a unified communications platform that pulls instant messaging, video conferencing and other meeting tools into one interface — has not only become synonymous with this trend but continues to guide its trajectory. This is what’s happening with the addition of the Lync 2013 VDI plug-in, a key feature of Dell’s Desktop Virtualization Enterprise Solutions with VMware Horizon View.

The plug-in installs on Windows clients and works with Horizon View desktops, providing point-to-point connectivity for voice and video calls, desktop sharing and other functions. It also offloads the connection through the VDI compute host, reducing network consumption, memory, IOPS and CPU.

How it works

The plug-in is a stand-alone application that installs on the local computer when the Lync 2013 client is running on a virtual machine, eliminating the need to install the client on the local computer. After the user signs into the Lync client running on the VM, the user is prompted to re-enter their credentials to establish a connection with the plug-in on the desktop. This connection is made through Microsoft’s dynamic virtual channels inside PCoIP, a remote display protocol for delivering remote desktops and applications. The introduction of the plugin is critical for enterprises that want to make Lync available to users who rely on thin clients, which need the network to deliver applications. The plugin also allows users to enjoy rich VoIP and videoconferencing calls without negatively affecting the network.

Put to the test

The Dell Cloud Client Computing engineering organization ran tests with and without the plug-in on Horizon View 5.2 to gauge how the workload would affect a Dell-optimized VDI. The tests specifically assessed the performance of desktop sharing and video conferencing, features that tend to strain the infrastructure.

Results showed significant reductions on the VDI compute host in all four major categories — CPU, memory, network and disk. This success has spurred Dell and VMware to embark on more joint projects to better optimize their joint desktop virtualization solutions.

Additional details on the plug-in tests can be found in the reference architecture for Dell DVS Enterprise with Horizon View 5.2. More information is also available in the VMware guide to downloading, installing and configuring the Lync 2013 client for use within a Horizon View 5.2 desktop.

Esther Shein
Esther Shein has covered how technology can make businesses more competitive for more than 20 years. Her work has appeared in ComputerWorld, BYTE and Information Week.
Esther Shein
Tags: Technology,Virtualization