Back in January 2012, we looked at gaming company OnLive's plans to take its video game-streaming know-how and put it to business use with virtualized desktops on the iPad. The original plan was to offer a two-tiered structure for OnLive Desktop -- "free" and "pro" -- but now a third service, "plus," is in the mix. Here's the scoop on how VDI is making it to the masses ...

The original OnLive Desktop included a free version with access to Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Storage was relegated to a DropBox account and desktop interaction was limited. The pro version, meanwhile, offered 50GB of space plus a much more open and unrestricted desktop environment for $10 per month. And now a third, in-between tier, is available for $5 per month.

According to OnLive, the plus package includes:

  • Priority access to OnLive Desktop Standard
  • Gigabit-accelerated full Flash browser
  • Gigabit-speed cloud storage (e.g. DropBox) and Web mail (e.g. Gmail)
Priority access means your VM data is prioritized on the network over those using the freemium services. Adding the usage of Flash-accelerated web browser may also attract some attention from the pro-Flash camp, but more importantly, this strikes a better balance between for users who want more control, but really don't need 50GB of VM storage.

More fascinating is OnLive's promise of OnLive Desktop Enterprise. OnLive promises to deliver:

  • IT-managed OnLive Desktops for businesses and organizations
  • Custom remote Windows or Linux with per-user entitlements for iPad, Android, PC, Mac, monitors/TVs with MicroConsole thin clients
  • Available for custom integration by ISVs or consultants
Interested parties are encouraged to reach out to OnLive via e-mail for more enterprise-level information.

No, it doesn't look as though OnLive will be starting a partner program anytime soon, but the fact that a relatively obscure video game company can branch out into cloud desktop services is of considerable importance in the channel. At the very least, it shows that the demand for mobility and VDI is constantly increasing, and at most it shows there's lots of room to grow for VARs and MSPs looking to build out their hosted infrastructure services.

If OnLive believes the general public is ready for virtualization solutions such as these, there's no doubt VARs working the SMB can't find an increasing level of acceptance, too. Additionally, VARs may want to start thinking about broadening their solutions, especially cloud and hosting, if the sentiment at Parallels 2012 is to be believed.