Microsoft Buys Kidaro and Desktop Virtualization Position

Microsoft is playing virtualization catch up against Linux vendors SUSE and Red Hat and market leader VMware but adding the tools to pick up the pace.

Microsoft is buying enterprise desktop virtualization company Kidaro as it works to meet its ambitous goal of providing virtualization solutons from the desktop to the data center.

The software giant plans to include Kidaro's virtualization technologies in future updates of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack for Software Assurance, a suite of desktop-management tools that has been the fastest-selling Version 1 product in the history of Microsoft's volume-license program.

"The acquisition of Kidaro is an important component of our virtualization strategy, and it delivers a powerful new tool to help enterprise customers optimize their desktops," said Shanen Boettcher, the general manager of Windows product management at Microsoft, in a statement March 12.

"This will further enable virtualization across the enterprise and is another example of how we are helping customers keep up with the changing needs of their business," Boettcher said.

The move also is expected to bring management capabilities for Virtual PCs, streamline deployments and ease application-compatibility issues, which are important to the enterprise because managing their desktops can be time-consuming, complex and costly, he said.

Kidaro, which has 35 employees, is headquartered in Redwood City, Calif., but also has offices in New York and Israel. A Microsoft spokesperson would not say if these offices would all be maintained or if staff would have to relocate to Redmond, Wash.

"Once the deal closes, Microsoft will go through the normal transition process, and Kidaro's employees will join Microsoft's Windows Client Division. It is Microsoft's goal to retain the current R&D team in Israel, but it is too early to detail specifics on relocation. Microsoft and Kidaro will work to minimize disruption to the Kidaro work force and to maintain a positive employee experience for all individuals," the spokesperson told eWeek March 12.

Microsoft's Virtual Desktop Strategy

Kidaro CEO Kevin Brown believes that adding its technology to Microsoft's Desktop Optimization Pack will bring with it the ability to offer sophisticated virtual desktop capabilities to a wide range of enterprise clients.

This latest desktop virtualization acquisition move follows Microsoft's announcement in January that it had bought Calista Technologies, which produces software that improves the end-user experience of three-dimensional and multimedia content for server-hosted virtualized desktops or applications delivered using Windows Terminal Services.

Bob Muglia, the senior vice president of Microsoft's server and tools business, also recently penned an executive e-mail to customers in which he said the company was focusing on innovation that enabled companies to build flexible, intelligent systems that can automatically adjust to changing business conditions by aligning computing resources with strategic objectives, known as Dynamic IT.

One of the core components of that was virtualization, the real power of which comes when companies implement an integrated virtualization strategy that extends across their IT infrastructures, Muglia said.

Playing Virtual Catch Up

Microsoft's ultimate goal is to try to ensure it becomes the leader in the provision of Dynamic IT all the way from the desktop to the server and into the data center and that its solutions are pervasive and ubiquitous.

But the software maker has some serious ground to make up as the server distributions from leading Linux vendors SUSE and Red Hat already have server distributions with an integrated hypervisor in the market, while VMware is the dominant player in this space and unlikely to cede that title without a battle.

Microsoft Software Assurance customers who have bought the Desktop Optimization Pack add-on subscription will get enhanced functionality as a result of the Kidaro acquisition, including the ability to enhance their Windows Vista migrations "by minimizing compatibility issues between applications and the operating system," Boettcher said.