IBM and VMware Embrace the Virtual Desktop

There has been some significant news on the virtualization front over the last few weeks: VMware was first with the unveiling of VMware View 3, then IBM announced that it was joining forces with Canonical and Virtual Bridges to offer an inexpensive alternative to Windows-based PCs. Both announcements underscore the growth in the virtualization market. VMware's announcement puts it one step along the road to fulfilling the broad, strategic vision for virtualization that VMware CEO Paul Maritz outlined at VMworld 2008. IBM sees the current economic climate as a perfect opportunity to push their value message to cash-strapped IT managers, and desktop virtualization is helping make their argument for them.

VMware sees VMware View 3 as a big component of their vClient Initiative, an attept to solve what the vendor calls the "desktop dilemma.” You can find out more about VMware's vClient efforts in our VMworld 2008 recap, but the gist of VMware's vClient approach is to work towards providing a universal client (powered by virtualization) that allows users to access required information through any combination of dekstop, laptop, and mobile devices. VMware also sees an advantage in pressing home a cost savings message, a point the company stressed in a news release announcing the availability of VMware View 3.

“VMware View 3 introduces technologies that increase the scalability and richness of virtual desktops while reducing management time and costs," said Jocelyn Goldfein, vice president and general manager of VMware’s Desktop Business Unit. "For example, the new VMware View Composer dramatically reduces storage consumption and increases the speed and flexibility of provisioning desktops. Our other new features such as virtual printing, multimedia redirection, offline desktop, and the brokering of Windows Terminal Services sessions, can provide end users with the best possible virtual desktop experience.”

IBM takes a similar tack, with Canonical Vice President Malcolm Yates extolling the the cost-saving virtues of IBM's approach. "With the benefits of open standards over a proprietary platform come the freedom to select software in a heterogeneous environment," Yates said. "Combining Ubuntu with IBM's Open Client software applications we can break out of Microsoft dependencies completely and significantly reduce total cost of ownership."

We Want Your Feedback!

So what do you think? Do either of these desktop virtualization approaches appeal to you, or are you waiting to deploy an alternative desktop virtualization from another vendor? Email your thoughts -- to jjames\[at\] -- and we'll reprint the best comments in the next issue of Virtualization UPDATE. Given the holiday season, I'll also give a free T-shirt and Windows IT Pro cap to the readers whose comments we chose to post.

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