Security Is Driving Customer Demand for VDI
Jerry Chen, the senior director of VMware's Enterprise Desktop division, said he sees a growing interest in the type of centralized, hosted environment that VMware is proposing through its VDI suite. "We are seeing clients asking about this technology and interested in exploring these different models and I think that is a symptom of the pain points that are out there," Chen told eWEEK. "They are looking for a better way."Those companies that are approaching VMware to develop these models-health care, financial services, government agencies-are those most in need of a secure environment for data and under pressure to secure that data to meet legal requirements, Chen said. These are also companies that have large fleets of PCs, making it difficult to manage. While VMware knows the importance of offering a secure, centralized way to manage a fleet of desktops, Chen believes that the streaming application model also benefits the users most by making the images "look and smell just like a PC." VMware plans to add Thinstall software into its VDI suite by later this year. The Scalable Virtual Images initiative remains in an experimental stage for now and Chen did not know when the company would be able to produce a commercial product. This initiative will allow VMware to move closer to its goal of separating the operating system from the hardware and then separating the OS from the applications, which should make securing and managing the individual images in the data center easier. By creating master images, the technology should make patching and updating easier, while the individual images will allow users not only to have their own applications, but also allow them to chose from an approved pool of applications without worrying whether a new application will break the OS or the other applications. "These are all parts of the puzzle," Chen said. "The IT administrator gets compliance, management and security, and the users get the experience."
Chen pointed to a report by Gartner that found that there could be as many as four million virtual machines in circulation by 2009 and that the market for desktop virtualization has the potential to outstrip server virtualization within a few years.