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VMware Snaps Up Thinstall

VMware today announced the acquisition of Thinstall as it looks to expand its tentacles beyond datacenter virtualization to help customers better deploy and update desktop applications.

Thinstall 3.3 Virtualization Suite acts as a thin virtual operating system (VOS) that merges a virtual system environment with the real system environment. It transparently streams large applications from a shared network drive, running the locally application without the need for a client or server software to install.

By eliminating the need for a client or server agent, Thinstall's software eliminates another point of failure. It also lets customers run applications in either managed or unmanaged Windows environments without requiring elevated security rights.

"It's a really big week for us," Ed Albanese, senior product manager for desktop products at VMware, told InternetNews.com. "It's the first time as a company we're moving into application virtualization."

"Thinstall's agentless desktop virtualization technology allows customers to plug into existing infrastructures without any issues," he said. "Before, customers had to sign support agreements or buy more server infrastructure to get the benefits of application virtualization."

The company's desktop virtualization software decouples applications from underlying operating systems, allowing systems administrators to isolate and move applications freely across their desktops.

Ideally, it reduces both the time and cost of installing new applications and testing them in a production environment. According to Forrester Research, enterprise customers spend an average of more than $500 a year per desktop managing applications.

VMware today also announced it had acquired the services-related assets of Foedus, a Portsmouth, N.H.-based consulting and services provider that helps companies design and install virtualization software -- particularly the applications it bought through the Thinstall deal.

Financial terms of both deals were not disclosed.

The news marks only the latest effort by VMware to expand support and build new services around its core offerings. announced a global agreement with SAP under which the German software company will provide support for all of its business applications running on VMware's ESX Server software.

VMware shares were off $1.43, or 2 percent, to $80.81 a share in Tuesday afternoon trading.