VMware on Tuesday launched an open source client for virtual desktops in a move that mixes a little bit of offense and defense.
In a statement, the company said its VMware View Open Client would allow companies to host virtualized desktops in the data center. Users would be able to access their desktops from any device.
As Dana Blankenhorn notes, the VMware move could be a game changer. If VMware's source code spurs development and makes virtualized desktops the norm, the move to open source will be big. However, VMware's move is also about playing defense. VMware is trying to grab virtualization turf on the desktop before Microsoft gets there with Hyper-V.
Here's a look at some of the fallout from VMware's open source gambit:
- Microsoft: The software giant has gotten under VMware's skin and Jason Perlow surmises the virtualization player needs open source to compete. However, Microsoft still has VMware surrounded. In this context, VMware is playing defense.
- VMware: If this open source move works, the company can take its dominance on the server side of the equation and extend it. The open source bet is worth taking for sure. VMware is on the offensive here and clearly wants to be the operating system of the enterprise.
- Red Hat and Citrix: Both companies have open source virtualization plays and VMware has to be a player. Consider the following: Microsoft squeezes VMware and Red Hat and Citrix joins in with Qumranet and Xen, respectively. Add it up and you can classify VMware's move as defensive.
- Desktop virtualization likely to expand. If you couple the high costs of desktops, the need to cut costs and the potential of accelerated deployments and VMware's move is likely to be a positive.
What remains to be seen is whether the open source community takes interest in VMware. In any case, VMware's open source move will be interesting to watch. You can get the code here: http://vmware-view-client.googlecode.com
Also see: VMware's fourth quarter solid; Outlook fuzzy