VMWare Launches Virtual PC Tools

EMC  subsidiary VMware, Inc. said it has upgraded its software for disseminating virtual machine desktops to PCs and laptops, a valuable tool for corporate employees who can’t conduct their work tied down to a desk.

VMware ACE 2 Enterprise Edition lets an IT administrator provision a Windows or Linux PC environment, including operating system, data and applications, into a virtual machine and deploy it to any client.

The product aims for the best of both worlds, granting employees access to their corporate software from any PC or laptop while allowing IT admins to maintain the control required by the company.

This is important for companies with employees that travel and need to access their machines from multiple locations without dragging around a laptop. ACE 2 also fits the bill for independent contractors who need to access the network of a company they are working for from their home computers.

In keeping with this mobile theme, ACE 2 includes a mobility feature that allows admins to package a desktop virtual machine to a portable media device such as a USB Flash drive or Apple iPod, said Jerry Chen, director of enterprise desktop platforms for VMware.

“It’s like carrying your laptop with you — you have access to the same OS and applications,” Chen said.

Moreover, Chen said VMs deployed with ACE 2 are encrypted and feature control policies thanks to the ACE Management Server, which allows admins to manage thousands of VMs from a single console.

This software tool lets an admin dictate whether or not a VM can be copied or replicated within certain time periods. It also includes a packet filter feature that determines what IP addresses the VM can or cannot communicate with to protects the VM from unauthorized access.

The encryption and policy controls mean that is the laptop is lost or stolen, unwanted eyes can’t peruse the data on the machine.

“This provides a more fine-grained control over how the virtual machine behaves. More and more of our customers are using VMs on laptops and desktops and [ACE] lets you can control these VMs,” Chen said.

ACE Management Server extends to other VMware virtualization products. For example, the software lets VMware Workstation 6 users create and package ACE VMs and allows users of VMware Player run an ACE virtual machine from any client.

VMware ACE 2 Enterprise Edition is currently in public beta and the finished product is due in the second quarter. Chen said VMware is not ready to announce pricing for ACE 2, but ACE is priced at $99 per client, while the original ACE Manager costs $795.

VMware competes with Microsoft , Virtual Iron, SWsoft and XenSource in the virtualization software market, through none of those vendors currently offer such management tools to corral virtual machines.

Meanwhile, erstwhile VMware challenger Virtual Iron Software today took version 3.5 of its virtualization platform to general availability.

The new software supports iSCSI  shared storage, and Internet-based protocol that costs less than storage socked away with the traditional Fibre Channel  method. Virtual Iron said in a statement iSCSI SAN is just one tenth the cost of Fibre Channel SAN per port.

Virtual Iron said in a statement this approach will help make its virtual infrastructure management tools for migrating, recovering, maintaining and storing data more attractive to cost-conscious users.

Version 3.5 also includes single-server installation, allowing users to download Virtual Iron Virtualization Manager and Virtualization Services on the same server that is running the virtual servers. This ability saves admins time and effort.

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