I had a long talk with David on Skype. We discussed the “old” Vizioncore days, his one year sabbatical and the first steps towards VDI and Liquidware Labs. David was not fond of VDI but more a full desktop terminal server or Citrix guy. When Tyler “T-Rex” Rohrer called him to work on something with VDI he was not jumping from the sofa at first 😉 Tyler challenged David to make VDI “cool” and so the Liquidware Labs story begins.
Tyler Rohrer Co Founded Liquidware Labs
So now you are involved with your second big start-up Liquidware Labs. How does this experience compare with your days at Vizioncore?
What’s interesting is that all of our very early experience in Citrix and Microsoft environments is coming back full circle in the work we are doing at Liquidware Labs today. So in some ways, this feels just like we are back in the Vizioncore days!
So… what’s the same is that we are still solving traditional IT problems with virtualization and we are still out at the forefront, evangelizing and teaching IT managers how to get better results and meet their challenges with simple, affordable software. We are still in an early adopter market, just like we were at Vizioncore.
Also, a lot of the same people are with me, including Chris Akerberg, Jason Mattox, and Dave Feathergill, and many, many of the same people who worked at Vizioncore. Over a dozen of us we have worked together for over 20 years. We really like working with each other and in the entrepreneurial mode, which, by the way, is not for the faint of heart.
But we have some other virtualization veterans here too. Tyler Rohrer, who is the co-Founder of Liquidware Labs came from Foedus, which was purchased by VMware. Tyler is actually the one who reached out to me and asked me if I wanted to start a really cool company. It was perfect because Tyler worked at VMware in the VDI group, and I knew the challenges of published Citrix desktops and applications. Our prior mutual work experiences gave us a great base to build the on-ramp to VDI. Also Tyler and I have two very different styles but we are a very good, complementary balance for each other.
Sonja Pelichet came to us from Dunes which was acquired by VMware too. She’s our General Manager in EMEA, currently. Sonja became an investor and an employee. I am sure you are remembering all of these names Peter since you’ve seen many of these companies throughout the years.
Sonja Pelichet General Manager – EMEA, Africa, India and ANZ @ Liquidware Labs
We also have Ron McKelvey who started up PHD Virtual and Pete Del Rey, those makers of esxPress who got us all worked up in the old days! Ron reached out to me a little more than a year after Liquidware Labs was started and said, ‘you know I created PHD virtual because you inspired me.’ And I said back to him…. ‘You know you really had us scrambling for a while and made us move our butts!’ So we joined forces, and Ron and Pete became investors and employees too. Ron’s added a lot of value over this last year with our Stratusphere UX BI layer and vCops adapter.
We really have a great crew and company here today. There are more names from 2 acquisitions that we made and I am very proud of all of them. I hope to be able to have future interviews where I can boast more about the additional team players we have! I would say that you would not be able to find another group who collectively know so much about desktop virtualization and who are so invested in the company and in our clients.
Now, for the differences… The first is that desktop virtualization is so much more complex than server virtualization – the way you manage users and applications in this space is really key to success. Also, having visibility into what users and applications are doing on their desktops – the user experience – is critical. If you don’t have good ways to manage and monitor users and applications, you’ll probably hit a snag in your VDI deployment. And the solutions we tailor made for VDI apply to physical AND terminal services for the most part. This means no fractured management!
Really, when you think about it, physical Windows desktops as they are deployed today…it’s just not sustainable with the current demands of corporate and the user. The complexity and cost is just going to outstrip the ability of IT staff to support it. You’ve got Windows XP, Vista and 7 OS machines out there… supporting a bunch of application versions, and I am only talking about commercial products. Forget about proprietary apps!! Now you have Windows 8 which is a radical departure from 7. Your workers want to use their other devices to access data and applications. And you have security concerns and remote office considerations. So really, the ONLY way to pull that all in to a manageable and cost effective infrastructure is to virtualize as many of the parts of the desktop as you can, and make the OS and hardware irrelevant to accessing the workspace. And remember, you don’t want fractured management. This is where we shine.
Fortunately, at Liquidware Labs, WE DO have great solutions to manage and monitor your desktops in the enterprise. I am glad to say too, that the more complex and the larger the environment you’re running, the better we shine. We are getting more and more people coming to us both from the virtual side and the physical side, trying to solve problems like roaming profiles, folder redirection, XP to Win7 migrations, user data protection and DR. We are also getting a lot of people coming to us for Health Checks, after they have hit bottlenecks on their virtual desktop projects. We are the only vendor with a Health Check methodology and solution, Stratusphere UX, which our channel partners use to diagnose and troubleshoot a “sick” VDI deployment. And our success rate is at 100% right now. If a client has an issue with our stated compatibility, we make it work. We are all about creating reliable and repeatable methods and solutions that can scale for channel professional services, consulting, and commercial IT teams.
I would say too, that this time, we have a much better relationship with OEMs, partners and enterprise clients. We have the full lineup of assessment, migration, user workspace, user experience monitoring, so we really have a compelling solution and a chance to expand past just the ‘User Virtualization’ story and deliver more value and leadership to clients than any of our current competitors.
Last year Liquidware Labs won the technology partner of the year award!
I’m very excited about our latest releases and our live test drives that just came out!! Just a few clicks and anyone can see three main feature/function solutions without setting up anything. Live.
There are 3 Test Drives, and they are super easy to each fill out and try. They’re at http://www.liquidwarelabs.com/testdrive/
So… fast forward to today … We’re still pioneering on many fronts. We pioneered assessments in 2009, and today it’s an established best practice for virtual desktops. We pioneered in automated migration of user data and persona. Secure, background throttled hands off migration! We are now doing the same for Health Checks, establishing our methodology as a best practice. In fact, I really do not know how you can accurately diagnose or optimize your VDI environments without applying this practice.
We’re also drawing attention to Stratusphere UX user experience monitoring with VDI considerations….to replace EdgeSight or to extend VMware vCenter Operations and feed in user experience literally ENABLING their root cause analysis engine. We even feed physical systems into vCops! And ProfileUnity is REALLY gaining momentum with partners and their commercial clients, across U.S. federal government and international governments, delivering across mixed platforms and with features like our FlexApp application management, privilege elevation services and ability set system level settings, locking down desktops and applications – it’s a really powerful package to run across all of your Windows desktops. We are a major inflection point for these systems from physical to virtual. It’s very exciting for me and us as a company.
In a nutshell, we see the future in which a desktop is completely decoupled from the OS and hardware. This decoupling is going to lead to really revolutionary ways to access your workspace. We’re working hard to deliver a software defined workspace (SDW). It’s more than user virtualization when you look at the suite. Stratusphere UX even has network packet and user name / ad group security features and perimeter security available from us today – we call it Identity Auditing and Enforcement. All together our software bundle becomes SDW – software defined workspace. Can we coin or ™ that? We’ve been the first to introduce a lot of concepts. Who knows? Maybe! Probably! Why not! … SDW™ J
This is David at his best! Telling the story of his business. But not only about business! Organic cooking, health food, coconut oil and his family are other passions and great things to share and talk about. It is a pleasure to connect with him 😉
Jokingly I called Liquidware Labs Vizioncore 2.0. That could be the case for staffing but definitely not for the technical part. But after reading the first two parts of this story does it surprise you that David reassembled his team to build Liquidware Labs? The eagerness and fire to make this company at least but probably even more successful then Vizioncore can only be reached with a “Dream Team”.
I had some nice comments on the first two parts of the Vheroe3 story. They always talked about the wiliness to help partners to achieve their business goals. The personal attention even about non business stuff. If necessary everybody at Liquidware Labs will help you solving configuration or technical issues.
For me it was great to get an inside look into the lives of vHero 3 David Bieneman. I thank David and his crew for the opportunity to write these stories.
David Bieneman Hero Facts:
Age – 39
Years in Industry – 20+
Family – Wife, 4 kids, dog and 3 cats – “The Bieneman Bunch!!”
Favorite Restaurant – Maja’s Kitchen (For us American folks it’s pronounced like ‘Maya’… and Yes my wife’s organic cooking is the best!)
Top 3 Places to have party: besides the old Vizioncore parties, Casa Bieneman’s poolroom.
Favorite Authors: Napoleon Hill, Ayn Rand
Favorite Quote: Too Funny!