VMware Looks to Solve the 'Desktop Dilemma'

At the VMworld conference, VMware CEO and President Paul Maritz tells the audience that VMware plans to address what he deems the desktop dilemma, by using virtualization to create a new type of virtual desktop infrastructure that will not only take advantage of traditional desktops but also allow for virtualization on laptops and other mobile devices such as smart phones and PDAs. In order to achieve these goals, VMware is turning to a number of partners in the PC area, such as HP and Wyse Technology.

LAS VEGAS-While the balance of the VMworld conference has focused on the data center and building the cloud computing infrastructure of tomorrow, VMware is also looking to solve what CEO Paul Maritz calls the "desktop dilemma."

The idea of creating a better and more enhanced version of a virtual desktop infrastructure, or VDI, is high on VMware's agenda, and the company plans to roll out a suite of technologies and services that it now calls VMware View.

The idea of VMware View is not only to bring virtual appliance- and server-based computing to traditional "thick" desktop client or thin-client PCs, but also to allow users to tap into the same technology if they are using a notebook or any of a number of smaller mobile devices such as smart phones and PDAs. It also allows IT departments to monitor, manage and secure data from a centralized location with a comment interface.

During his opening address here Sept. 16, Maritz said while the focus and the revenue from virtualization have lately centered on server and data center consolidation, the desktop is one area where virtualization will shift to next, changing the way people interact with a number of different clients from traditional PCs to the Apple iPhone.

"We as a company have continued to address ... server-side virtualization as well as client-side virtualization," Maritz said. "So, today, we are the leader in both server-side and client-side virtualization, and if you look at our parts such as VMware Workstation and VMware Fusion, those are the parts that will allow us to give customers a rich client-side virtualization experience. Now we can take those parts, along with other technologies we are developing, to address the desktop dilemma once and for all."

The idea is to have the user's information and what application he or she uses contained in the data center and then allow that user to access the virtual application and data from different devices. At the same time, software will check and secure a user's identity within the data center and allow an IT department to monitor the entire platform.

It's important to remember that VMware has only offered a road map of how all these technologies will come together, whether with cloud computing or VDI. Many of these products, including the specific software layer that VMware will use to create a virtual environment within individual desktops, are not slated for release until 2009 and beyond.