Userful: Making Virtualization Simpler and More Flexible

Timothy Griffin, Founder & CTO
Timothy Griffin, Founder and Chief Technology Officer at Userful, a one-time professional cellist, observed how a startup holds similarities to an orchestra. He sees a company’s output in many ways like a work of art that requires precise teamwork and synchronization. “Repetition and continual improvement is the secret behind any great music performance. Each iteration makes it more and more beautiful. I think one of the reasons why musicians are drawn to software is partly because of this drive towards infinite refinement. In software, the cost of the iteration is much more manageable than in the physical art,” says Griffin. Luck just happens when preparation meets opportunity. And it perfectly describes both an inspiring musical performance and a world-changing technology startup.

In contrast to the traditional Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), which remains complex, expensive and performance-limited, Griffin and the team at Userful have created a unique approach to central desktop virtualization that is simple and affordable for everyone. Over the years, their software has provided solutions for a wide variety of markets including traditional desktops, touch screens, video walls, and more.

Shared screens represent a very large and rapidly growing need, as opposed to the traditional single-user sit-down Windows desktop. Traditional VDI is a constrained and costly approach to deliver quality end-user experiences to these new types of shared endpoints. Userful made it simple and budget-friendly for organizations to implement and centrally manage virtual computers through their innovative solutions. Userful supports virtualization deployments from desktops to video walls and beyond, with exceptional performance and unique flexibility.

According to Griffin, high data-center and Microsoft-licensing costs, along with increased setup complexity have held the desktop virtualization industry back. The Userful solution provides extremely simple display management by creating a drag and drop canvas out of every screen in the virtualization setup. “For us, it is all about ease and speed of deployment. All of our tools are browser-managed with intuitive interfaces designed so that locked-down, fixed function displays can be created in seconds by ordinary individuals,” adds Griffin.
Userful is a complete, converged software appliance that installs in minutes onto a standard server or PC and scales gracefully from dozens to thousands of screens and locations simply by adding additional servers.

IT departments have pushed to have a homogenous approach to IT infrastructure because of the high cost of image management. But the reality is that heterogeneity is a more natural state of affairs. “Not all projects and endpoints need full Windows VM,” explains Griffin. “Userful’s platform delivers a wide range of different endpoint experiences that require no maintenance and their innovative container approach lets clients use just enough virtualization, and customize new locked-down endpoints profiles in seconds” he adds.

Amongst its many successes, Userful helped the Ministry of Education in Brazil provide a world of new opportunities for students across the country withover 500,000 seats of powerful Userful software. The ministry saved a fortune on equipment, deployment, maintenance, and connected millions of children to computers for the first time. Userful is the perfect platform to showcase how quick and easy it is to get a centralized and secure multi-screen project off the ground, as most VDI solutions take weeks to get a proof of concept demo off the ground, while many do not even see the light of day.

Userful recently started deploying power-over-Ethernet, zero client touch screens which makes it easy to put a centrally-powered virtualized touch screen anywhere, without the cost of installing power outlets, or the security and maintenance risks of deploying a tablet, making it client-friendly.

Whether it be because of complexity, cost, or performance, certain use cases just don’t make sense with traditional VDI tools. Userful excels at these 'other’ screens. These are screens that have multiple users, need to be tightly locked-down, need blazing fast performance, or need to be extremely low-cost. “We believe that the virtualization industry needs to evolve to address all the increasingly broad range of screens and use cases that enterprises need to deploy and manage at a low cost, and Userful provides a powerful and lightweight toolset platform to make this happen. We aim to continue providing customers and partners this high-standard solution, and to consistently improve and grow as a world-changing company,” concludes Griffin.


Alberta, Canada

Timothy Griffin, Founder & CTO

A desktop virtualization software company that makes it simple and affordable for organizations to implement and centrally manage virtual computers.