Iomega Offers Virtual PC Clones

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Storage provider Iomega is now offering technology that will allow users to keep a virtual copy of their computer in their pocket

Consumers can now experiment with virtualisation technology after Iomega launched its v.Clone software, which creates a virtual clone of a user’s main or principle computer.

In essence, what v.Clone software does is create a virtual copy (or image) of the user’s main computer. This image is stored on an Iomega hard drive and if the user plugs the hard drive into any other computer, then he or she has instant access to the cloned image of their principle computer.

The clever bit is that it is also backwards compatible, so that when the user reattaches the USB hard drive containing the v.Clone image back onto their main computer, any changes are synched back to the main machine.

This gives users the freedom to move between multiple machines, while always having access to their machine and the data it contains.

“Iomega’s v.Clone technology represents the first time virtualisation has been made easy-to-use and extremely convenient for consumers and small offices,” said Jonathan Huberman, president of Iomega and the Consumer and Small Business Division of EMC.

“With v.Clone software, you can carry your PC in your pocket and access your files, email and applications on almost any computer anywhere, including netbooks. v.Clone is the perfect application for individuals with multiple computers – it allows you to use a virtual clone of your primary computer with your other computers, ensuring access to your digital content wherever you go.”

It is perhaps no surprise therefore that v.Clone incorporates VMware virtualisation technology, after all, its parent organisation (EMC) owns both Iomega and VMware.

But of course, carrying your whole computer and its potentially sensitive data around in your pocket does pose a security issue. According to Iomega the v.Clone image is protected by two levels of security. The first is the password protection built into the v.Clone application to prevent unauthorised access to your virtual machine.

The second level is provided by encryption, as v.Clone can be used in conjunction with an Iomega eGo Encrypt or Encrypt Plus Portable Hard Drive.

The other point to note here is as the user’s environment is virtualised and stored on their Iomega external hard drive, no personal data is left behind on the computer used to run the v.Clone image.

Another noteworthy point is that in addition to v.Clone’s ability to allow for portable working across multiple machines, it is also a good way to backup your principle computer in case it fails or is stolen. In this case users can migrate documents and settings from their v.Clone image onto a new computer.

Iomega will demonstrate v.Clone at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and the technology will be available later this month as a download for purchasers of Iomega portable and desktop hard disk drives.

As well as the download option, v.Clone software is expected to begin shipping with Iomega USB 2.0 portable hard disk drives sometime in the first quarter of 2010.

There is no word yet on pricing.