Droplet Computing – Redefined application delivery is here… or is it?

Firstly, I want to start off outlining that this blog is based on my opinion and not my employers, but also that some of my comments may be incorrect, but this is possibly due to the lack of exposure to the product as it is to date. I would also like to outline that I hope, once it is officially launched as an available product (aiming end of Q2 2018 latest), will provide what the team at Droplet Computing are articulating as it will be a great addition and disruptive technology in the way we deliver applications!

PRIANTO

Now the caveats are out of the way onto the launch information… Once the initial networking and meet/greet had finished the launch commenced with Prianto (distributor) outlining themselves. The Prianto history (back then it wasn’t Prianto, it was KNS I believe) started 1992, Raj Mehta brought a new technology to Yuri Pasea outlining that this is a game changing technology we need to drive into Europe. This technology vendor was Citrix! Raj and Yuri went off to see Citrix at an event in the US and persuaded them that they knew the European market and can assist them in delivering Citrix technologies. At that time Citrix signed first distribution contract for Europe with them. From that Raj and Yuri built themselves off the back of bringing Citrix to the European market.

A few years later Raj brought another technology vendor to Yuri, with the words “this could be another game changer”. That technology vendor was VMware. The same scenario occurred which allowed them to Bring VMware to the European market under the distributor known as Centia, which got bought by arrow.

Roughly 7 Year’s ago Prianto was born, focused on bringing new and innovative products to market, building on their approach and methodology used on the Citrix and VMware go to markets.

Droplet Computing (App UX Limited) reached out to Yuri (for once he beat Raj) to take them to market as a distribution partner. Droplet has done one launch in the US, whereby they were questioned by experts in silicon valley, and the feedback so far has been positive, with some comments of vapour-ware.

Today we were the only official people to hear about Droplet outside of that launch group, with information provided directly from Droplet.

 

DROPLET

Steve Horne (CEO) droplet computing took to the stage talking about the evolution of an idea.

This is the cycle of thought used to build the Droplet Computing platform.

Steve used to work for VMware, but he was finding that customers wanted to do things that virtual application and desktop solutions couldn’t deliver. No offline access, legacy delivery etc … So an idea was formulated. The concept started with delivering a non-native application to ChromeBooks, and it broadened out from there. The next decision factor was how will the technology be delivered, and fundamentally the question was; “What does every device have that can be utilised and manipulated?” So droplet patented an idea for delivery of universal containers to web browsers using a patent pending technology for universal container delivery. Originally this wasn’t called a container, it was a layer, but a lawyer said this isn’t a layer. It’s a container due to its architecture.

Shortly after people started to talk about Droplet and its potential technical capability. There was interest in Silicon Valley to review Droplet. Droplet launched in Silicon Valley (https://dropletcomputing.com/droplet-computing-unveils-at-cloud-field-day-at-rubriks-head-office-in-california/) This brought up more ideas and market buzz around this small UK startup, but key for Droplet was more ideas and capabilities they can introduce into their product….. but not in the v1 release!

Following this Forbes decided to write an article on them! (https://www.forbes.com/sites/justinwarren/2018/04/17/droplet-computing-makes-the-browser-the-computer/#dac2246c3cda)

The next stage was to get further validation. So early testers started using the platform building case references.

Personally I thought it was a shame not to have one of the two businesses on stage telling us their feedback!

The common question seen to date has been “it can’t be that simple”.

The Droplet route to market is through distribution into the partner channel. Droplet want the partners to be sales and services driven. Services are the cherry ..... how partners can drive more annuity revenue through the potential of creating the container manifests for customer applications. Droplet want to educate partners and customers that there is another way.. don’t just keep on doing what you have been doing.

Following Steve was Peter Von Oven, CTO for Droplet Computing. Peter met Steve at VMware whilst selling VDI, and wanted to make a difference.

Expectations in business has changed but business IT has not. Applications have remained due to requirements and cost to move away. Which means people are tied to operating systems, hardware, etc. Users want more, users want something new!

Droplet Computing Universal Containers offer:

  • Any device (through browser)
  • Security for apps and data
  • Consistent speed of applications
  • Functionality and familiarity

Potential issues with device support if you don’t move to windows 10... then there become issues with apps.

From the image above you can see that the operating systems in use globally presented by Droplet show that windows XP is still in use by circa 8-12% of users globally! Probably because of legacy applications. Same with mobile device utilisation, everyone expects Apple IOS to be at the top, but Android and Windows phone are in use at high levels worldwide! This provides the issue of how you deliver a consistent application experience across all of those devices. This is where Droplet are aiming to play!

One of my favourite quotes in the session was “No such thing as a legacy app in production” because legacy means it isnt really core or not used anymore!

Droplet have done some testing with OS/2 which was EOL many moons ago. Droplet were able to deliver that application to any device within their container. The beauty of their container is that it provides the capability to throttle the container resource availability for applications that may have been written for much slower systems.

Legacy apps are current apps that run on older operations systems and hardware..... Droplet want to "Set Your Apps Free", across the platforms and approaches outlined in the below image.

So what does Droplet deliver?

 

One of the common questions is; “What do the apps look like?” which gets a response of “Just like the usual version, because it is the usual version.”

Droplet intend to provide VDI without the v and d or I….

You can separate apps for isolation or add multiple apps into a single container for apps that play nicely together.

What Droplet are NOT!

Droplet want to be seen as complimentary, not a replacement product.

So what is the container?

At a 100mile high view, Droplet take machine code from the apps and containerise those down to the GPU level. They then use WebGL & webassembly to build the container.

Why a browser? - because it is a constant across all platforms of use!

Droplet Storage

Have own file system manager to interact locally on device, or direct into cloud storage. Support non-persistent storage through browser cache

Additional features

Note your endpoints still need resources to run the apps!! If your app needs 4GB memory then you need 4GB memory.

Droplet won’t build manifests on behalf of customers as they move forward. That’s a service opportunity for the partner!

App Consistency

The application experience is the same on all devices because it is the same application!

As you can see on the desktop image above, it shows the app running as browser processes...

Same again with word as an example.

Steve came back and was playing minesweeper from windows 98 on his iPhone. That’s an example of the capability, Droplet can slow containers down to allow applications to function properly. Older apps need this functionality to work efficiently!!

 

Summary

Personally, I wouldn’t have called the event a “launch” as nothing was actually launched. The product isn’t available yet, and there are some unknowns. These unknowns are mainly down to not being able to use and test out the product myself or even see it in action in the flesh! As no demonstrations occurred at the launch. Yes, demonstrations of word on multiple devices maybe boring but shows you have a working product at least. Some questions and unknowns;

  • How is profile/persona going to overlay?
  • How about container to container communication? Instead of wrapping nice apps together?
  • Are storage locations locked down globally preventing users from saving data wherever they like?
  • How does it interact with software asset management tools as essentially you can’t see the app, just a browser process!
  • How do you monitor the performance and experience of an app within the container?
  • Its supposedly simple, but how simple… I need to see this for myself
  • What is the actual performance like, it all sounds good, but I haven’t spoken to anyone outside of Droplet who uses it already
  • How is it licensed? As it sounds a bit unknown and complicated at the moment (in my opinion)
  • The build of manifest files to create the container was discussed and outlined that we would be trained as partners, but if its that simple why would I need training?

Concept sounds great, and the limited information we have makes it sound promising, but the proof is in the pudding, once it is in the hands of the consumers. I am eagerly waiting for a release to see this properly!

 

Ultimately, I welcome and cannot wait for Droplet to give me (and others) access to the platform to provide feedback and to test and show people exactly what it is like from independent sources.

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