virtualization giant is acquiring Thinstall, which specializes in application
VMware is staring off 2008 by focusing on desktop
On Jan. 15, the Palo Alto, Calif., company
announced that it would acquire Thinstall, a privately held company that
specializes in application virtualization technology for PCs. The deal is
expected to close by the end of the first quarter of this year.
The acquisition should help VMware, which is considered
the leading provider of x86 virtualization technology for servers in the data
center, strengthen its portfolio of products for desktop virtualization, which
includes its ACE product for individual machines and Virtual Desktop
Infrastructure, which allows an IT department to create a virtual desktop
infrastructure within a data center.
While the success of VMware and the acquisition of
XenSource by Citrix in 2007 shows that the market for server virtualization is
growing, desktop virtualization is seen as the next logical step in this
"The addition of Thinstall to our desktop virtualization
portfolio will help us to better deliver cost-effective and more flexible tools
for quickly and securely provisioning desktops," said Jeff Jennings, vice
president of desktop products and solutions at VMware, in a
A Garter report released last year showed that the
number of virtual machines will increase from 540,000 in 2006 to four million in
2009. Desktop virtualization, the report claims, has the potential to outstrip
server virtualization, especially when companies look for ways to better manage
Natalie Lambert, an analyst with Forrester Research,
believes that the Thinstall acquisition will help VMware deliver a better range
of services for virtualized desktop infrastructures from patch management to
streaming applications from the data center to the client.
Lambert also believes that while the industry is moving
toward a model where clients are controlled and managed from the data center, it
is doubtful the industry will shift to this model in 2008. However, the VMware
acquisition does help validate the technology.
"It's an entire paradigm shift," Lambert said. "There
are significant benefits in manageability and security, but it's a mindshift and
its going to take some time for these technologies to work and it's also going
to take time for the IT department to break users into groups and find out who
is better able to use a hosted desktop that is not run locally but in the data
Thinstall, which is based in San
Francisco, has about 600 customers in both the enterprise space and within
government. Lambert believes that VMware will re-brand the Thinstall product
line by the second half of this year, but that it will keep the company's
partnership with LANDesk and BMC in place.
In addition to Thinstall, VMware announced this week
that it would acquire Foedus, a Portsmouth, N.H. company that provides a number
of virtualization technology services for desktops.