VMware readies desktop virtualization blueprint

The goal is to help companies find the best ways to use VMware's View desktop virtualization platform

In an effort to boost the popularity of desktop virtualization, VMware is working on improvements related to scalability and WAN performance and is preparing documentation that outlines how best to use the fledgling technology, according to a company executive.

Computerworld feature Virtualization 101: What is virtualization?

VMware also plans to enhance performance monitoring for the technology, said Vittorio Viarengo, vice president of end user computing at the company.

The desktop virtualization market started to accelerate in the second half of last year, Viarengo noted in an interview. Today, many companies are doing pilots to figure out how best to use the technology. Documentation that gives pointers on how move from a pilot to deployment will be published during the second quarter, Viarengo said. The documentation will also provide reference architectures and detail where the technology is a good fit as well as what desktop applications are not yet ready to be virtualized.

Desktop virtualization is still in its infancy, and users want to be told how to approach the technology, according to Viarengo.

For most knowledge workers desktop virtualization is a good fit, especially if there is a need for features like follow-me desktops, which allow users to move from one client to another and continue to work where they left off, according to Viarengo. To make that feature easier to use, VMware works with Imprivata, a company that adds single sign-on capabilities both desktop and applications using proximity cards, he said.

On the other hand, trying to move heavy CAD/CAM and 3D users to a virtualized platform is currently not the best way to spend IT resources, he said.

The August launch of version 4.5 of VMware's View desktop virtualization platform was a big deal for the company. The update integrated management features, smartcard authentication and the ability to run managed virtual desktops locally without a network connection. It also allows enterprises to run Windows 7 virtually.

Still, there is always room for improvement. For upcoming versions of View, VMware is working to improve performance monitoring and the ability to assess a company's IT environment before rolling out desktop virtualization. The acquisition of Integrien, which was announced in August last year, will help VMware make those improvements, according to Viarengo.

Another acquisition that will lay the groundwork for future improvements is RTO Software, which was acquired in February last year and will allow VMware to unbundle user data from the desktop image. That is important for two main reasons: administrators can create stateless images that are easier to manage and also allow one set of user data to be delivered to multiple devices, according to Viarengo. Integration of these features will be offered in one of the next releases of View, he said.

The company has also moved some key engineers from the team working on the ESX server hypervisor, putting them into the View group. Their task is to significantly improve scalability.

Yet another area VMware is focusing on is WAN performance of PCoIP, the protocol it uses to deliver remote desktops. The company has already upped performance in View 4.5 and 4.6, which arrived in February. But it's still an area that needs more work, according to Viarengo. The next major release will come with drastic improvements, and as a result View will need much less bandwidth when used over a WAN, he said.

For users that want more details about what VMware has planned, VMworld will take place in Las Vegas between Aug. 29 and Sep. 1 and in Copenhagen starting on Oct. 18.

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Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
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