VMware aims to virtualise Windows 7 rollouts

The company's View 4 aims to capitalise on growing interest in desktop virtualisation driven by tight budgets
Written by Matthew Broersma, Contributor

VMware has unveiled version 4 of its View desktop virtualisation software, which has expanded features designed to streamline and speed up deployments.

In an announcement on Monday, the company said it has simplified provisioning and improved scalability in View 4, allowing organisations to manage tens of thousands of virtualised desktops as a single deployment, up from the 500 to 1,000 supported by previous versions of View.

VMware said it believes the recent launch of Microsoft Windows 7 will help drive uptake of desktop virtualisation, as organisations look for less expensive, simpler ways of rolling out large numbers of Windows desktops.

Desktop virtualisation is the deployment of full desktop environments hosted and managed on a server as virtualised instances and accessed via a remote client device. The technology is intended to reduce deployment and management costs, but to date uptake has been hampered by problems such as poor user experience, high acquisition costs and lack of scalability, VMware said.

Industry analysts have predicted that the economic climate will be another boost for desktop virtualisation sales, with Gartner predicting in April that the EMEA desktop virtualisation market will more than quadruple from €12m (£7m) in 2008 to €56.2m by the end of 2009.

View 4 is designed to offer improvements in a number of areas, by introducing, for instance, a new communications protocol called PC-over-IP (PCoIP), licensed from Teradici, that improves the rendering of graphics-intensive applications such as Flash, according to VMware.

The vSphere server-side software on which View is based has been optimised for server chips such as Intel's Xeon 5500 and AMD's upcoming 'Istanbul', and VMware said it has improved the scheduling of virtual desktop workloads.

The result is that a typical two-CPU server can now support more than 100 virtual desktops, up from the 50 to 60 supported by previous versions of View, VMware said.

Overall, VMware said that with View 4 companies can cut the total cost of desktop ownership by 50 percent.

VMware partners such as Cisco, NetApp and VMware parent company EMC will introduce reference architectures in areas such as networking, storage and management for View 4, the company said.

The storage reference architectures will, for instance, include auto-tiering technology that detects which data is in heavy use, placing it on high-speed storage, while less frequently used data is moved to lower-cost storage, VMware said.

View 4 will be released on 19 November, with an Enterprise version priced at $150 per concurrent user and a Premium version priced at $250 per concurrent user, VMware said.

The enterprise version features vSphere along with vCenter and View Manager management software, while the premium version includes this software as well as View Composer image management software and ThinApp for application virtualisation.

VMware, which leads the server virtualisation market, is competing in the relatively new desktop virtualisation field with companies such as Microsoft, Citrix and Wyse.

Citrix updated XenDesktop to version 4 in October, improving performance, security and graphics performance.

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