Microsoft's desktop virtualisation strategy: broad definitions

So, how seriously does Microsoft take desktop virtualisation? After all, it's a technology that arguably does not fit in very well with the company's established licensing model.

So, how seriously does Microsoft take desktop virtualisation? After all, it's a technology that arguably does not fit in very well with the company's established licensing model.

Luckily, Microsoft made a slew of desktop virtualisation-related announcements — a couple major-ish, most small — on Thursday, giving me a chance to ask the company's virtualisation marketing chief, Dai Vu, about this very issue.

My interest in the issue was, of course, piqued by the fact that it only took Vu a couple of minutes into the conversation to say: "One perception is that, not only does Microsoft not have a clear strategy [in terms of desktop virtualisation], but we also don't have a clear strategy in VDI [technology]". A wee bit defensive, perhaps, since I hadn't yet mentioned any lack of strategy.

I asked if Vu thought there would ever be more virtual desktops than non-virtual desktops in the enterprise. Yes, he said, and Microsoft's desktop virtualisation strategy is a hybrid one.

"There will be a percentage of desktops running in the datacentre, some leveraging application virtualisation or user state virtualisation," he said.

Application virtualisation? You mean, apps streaming from the public or private cloud? A desktop running a hosted app counts as a virtual desktop?

"Yes," said Vu. "We're defining desktop virtualisation very broadly."

That's putting it mildly. Well, at least we now know what Microsoft's desktop virtualisation strategy is.

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