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vTool Suited for Remote Developers

Sentillion’s vThere provides a promising remote-user solution.

Health-care software provider Sentillion Inc. is touting the latest version of its vThere offering to corporate .NET developers.

The Andover, Mass.-based company, which was spun off from Hewlett-Packard Co. in 1998, is a core provider of identity management and PC virtualization software for hospitals, practitioners and benefits administrators. The company has no firm plans to target other verticals at this time.

But Sentillion's recently upgraded vThere solution, which allows remote users to log on to a virtual workspace, addresses many of the same security and remote computing issues that are found outside of health care.

Just as vThere allows a physician to access a hospital's patient care system from his or her office or home, a corporate development team could work on projects remotely, says David Fusari, the company's CTO, a revelation that came from Sentillion's own internal development efforts.

"If you're working with third-party consultants to get something delivered, you can give them a vThere image with all the developer tools and your source code," Fusari says. "When that project is done you could revoke those images and you can be assured they're working inside a secure environment."

Beyond Health Care?
Fusari admits the company hasn't decided to make a hard push at this point to development teams outside the health-care vertical, but doesn't rule it out, either.

Nonetheless, vThere is noteworthy, says Barry Runyon, research director for Gartner Inc.'s health-care providers practice. "If you can put together an image that's role-based, I can see this taking off over time," Runyon says.

Since its introduction more than 18 months ago vThere has had some success, but it's primarily being used in a large number of pilots rather than huge implementations.

"I know it's being adopted rapidly, but not on a large-scale basis," Runyon says. "I think you'll see more uptake in 2008."

The vThere Solution
The solution consists of two key components: The vThere Player, which includes virtualization software licensed from Parallels Inc. and Sentillion's own single sign-on and VPN access tools. The other component is the vThere Image Creator, which allows organizations to create image access rights that can be distributed to remote workers either on a DVD or through a hosted Web site.

Newly added features include the ability to install print drivers, support for configurable Media Access Control addresses and the ability to lock a machine into full-screen mode. The latter is particularly important to those who want to make sure remote workers don't co-mingle their personal workspaces with the virtual machines created by vThere. The new functions are available now.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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