RealTime IT News

VDIworks Ties Up With Microsoft

Connection broker provider VDIworks has just announced a new product that could help strengthen Microsoft's position in the virtualization sector.

The product is a plug-in for System Center, Microsoft's set of server products that help manage Windows Server and client desktop systems.

Called VDIvision for System Center, it aims to bring desktop virtualization management capabilities to Microsoft's Hyper-V hypervisor.

The release comes as VMware (NYSE: VMW) is reeling from the abrupt departure of CEO Diane Greene and her replacement by EMC executive Paul Maritz,

A VDI is a server-centric computing model that lets IT administrators centrally host and manage, create and deploy desktop virtual machines from the data center to provide a full PC desktop experience, with multimedia, to end users.

The VDIvision product will let System Center users discover and manage their virtual and physical environments from within System Center. "Say your data center is overheating because the air conditioning has gone out; we can take that alert, integrate it with VMware's VMotion and move the application into another server in another data center," said Rick Hoffman, VDIworks CEO.

VMotion is VMware's technology that migrates virtual machines between servers.

VDIvision for System Center is integrated with Active Directory so IT managers can control users' access rights and permissions. It runs a SQL Server database at the back end in which enterprise IT can store all the components of the VDI environment so it can run reports against them and manage the environment.

VDIvision for System Center is platform-agnostic, and can run with hypervisors from VMware, Xen and Microsoft.

VDIworks is one of 15 companies offering connection brokers technologies. Connection brokers let enterprises automatically switch between virtualized and dedicated physical computing resources.

The open source Xen Desktop Broker competes directly with VDIvision for System Center; other desktop connection brokers such as Xen Desktop connect to the VDI sitting on servers or blade PCs.

Vendors are flocking to this space because the opportunity for desktop virtualization products is huge, Rachel Chalmers, research director at the 451 Group, told InternetNews.com. "There's 25 million Windows servers that can be virtualized, and 680 million Windows desktops that can be virtualized," she said.

However, it was slow to take off because thin clients were expensive and because they didn't offer enough multimedia capabilities for knowledge workers.

Things have changed: "We've got the cost per seat down from $500 to $600, to the point where it's equivalent to a box PC at about $200," Hoffman said. "They also come with software that accelerates the multimedia experience."

Multimedia capabilities are critical for maintaining the end user experience, because "knowledge workers need the additional features that desktops with multimedia give you," Chalmers said.

Recognizing this, Microsoft bought graphics virtualization vendor Calista Technologies earlier this year.

"You'll see lots of companies investing in remote video protocols and technologies now," Hoffman said.