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VMware, VDIworks Focus on Virtual Desktops

Virtualization

Managing the virtual desktop end-to-end may be becoming easier thanks to new products from virtualization market leader VMware and virtual desktop software provider VDIworks.

VMware (NYSE: VMW) today announced the general availability of VMware View 3, a hosted virtual desktop product that enables enterprises to centralize and host their desktops in the datacenter.

VDIworks will offer VDIworks2Go, an add-on to its Virtual Desktop Platform which also offers virtualization from the datacenter to the desktop, before the end of the year. The company offers desktop virtualization management for VMware archrival Microsoft's (NASDAQ: MSFT) Hyper-V hypervisor.

Both VMware's and VDIworks' products aim to take virtualization to the next level, giving datacenters control over users' virtual desktops, enhancing security and manageability and reducing the cost of ownership.

That could play well with enterprises who are looking to better manage a growing and increasingly complex array of user devices while shaving expenses at the same time.

According to the companies, virtual desktops can help enterprise IT departments ensure that users adhere to corporate policies -- by ensuring a user gets a fresh, company-approved desktop image when they synch. They also aim to make it easier to manage end-user devices, since patching and upgrades need to be done only to the gold image before they are automatically incorporated into the users' virtual desktops.

While independent vendor MokaFive has offered virtual desktop management for some time, its solution works only on the user's local device, not in the datacenter, leaving VMware and VDIworks unchallenged in this area.

VMware first announced VMware View at VMworld 2008, held in Las Vegas in September.

Unlike VDIworks2Go, VMware View 3 offers virtual printing through a universal print driver, enabling users to automatically detect and print to any local or network printer without having to install device-specific printer drivers. Also, it has a Multimedia Redirection feature that decodes multimedia files on the user's device -- instead of decoding on the server and then streaming the file. This saves on network bandwidth.

Storage optimization

In addition, VMware View 3 offers storage optimization through its View Composer feature. This reduces storage requirements by up to 70 percent, Raj Mallempati, VMware's group product manager, desktop products, told InternetNews.com.

"With a typical VDI [virtual desktop interface], you need dedicated storage for each desktop, but with View Composer, you take one 'gold' image and create a bunch of clones, all of which share just the one disk on which the gold image sits," Mallempati said.

However, IBM (NYSE: IBM) beat partner VMware to the punch on virtual desktop storage optimization, announcing at VMworld 2008 its own solution, which is based on VMware's VDI.

But VMware View 3 offers an additional benefit, the company said: It helps extend the life of existing hardware.

"As you upgrade your applications and operating systems, you need more memory and storage, or new hardware," Mallempati said. "Now, you only upgrade your gold image instead, so your laptop or PC basically acts as a dumb terminal unless you're working offline or doing multimedia redirection."

VMware View 3 is bundled with ThinApp, VMware's agentless application virtualization product. It works with View Composer and lets applications run independently of the host operating system or version or patch level, simplifying updating and patching.

Like VMware View 3, VDIworks2Go enables users to access a centralized virtual desktop from a mobile device and work with it online or offline. If the user works offline, the device is synchronized with the datacenter when it is next plugged in.

VMware View is part of VMware's vClient initiative, aimed at delivering universal clients that follow users to any end point but are cost-effective and easy to manage. This was also announced at VMworld 2008.