Chromebooks getting VMware virtual desktop service

Organizations will be able to run their Windows applications on Google Chromebooks with VMware's new desktop virtualization service

VMware will offer virtual desktop services for Google's Chromebooks, allowing them to run Windows applications on the pared-down laptops based on the Chrome OS.

Organizations could save as much as US$5,000 per computer by using a combination of Chromebooks and VMware managed services, Google has estimated.

VMware desktop virtualization could also provide organizations an easy way to migrate from Windows XP, which Microsoft will stop supporting in April.

"Many customers want to take advantage of thin client computing but want a bridge back to the old world where they can run Windows applications," said Sanjay Poonen, VMware executive vice president and general manager of end user computing.

VMware customers using version 5.3 of Horizon View can already run virtual desktops and applications on Google Chromebooks. The pending VMware service, however, may be appealing in that organizations will not have to manage back-end infrastructure for running the virtualized environments, Poonen said.

The service, which will be offered both by VMware and selected partners, will go live within the next few months, Poonen said.

With this service, organizations can access their applications or full virtual Windows desktops by using a number of different VMware virtualization technologies.

VMware Horizon can stream desktops using VMware's Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), or stream applications using Remote Desktop Services (RDS).

Users can also access applications, data and desktops through a browser, using VMware's Blast streaming software.

Google and other hardware manufacturers now currently offer Chromebooks starting at $179.

Using Chromebooks as thin client computing devices along with the VMware service could save organizations money in a number of ways, said Caesar Sengupta, Google vice president of product management for Chrome OS. Besides the typically low cost of the devices, money could also be saved by reducing the number of software licenses needed and cutting the administrative costs typically associated with managing individual PCs.

Google and VMware announced this service at VMware Partner Exchange 2014 conference, being held this week in San Francisco.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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