VMware, Wyse Sign Virtualization Licensing Agreement

In the agreement, VMware will license remote display software technology from Wyse Technology that will help enhance the end-user experience with VMware's Virtual Desktop Infrastructure suite, now called VMware View. The Wyse technology enhances the multimedia and display capabilities of Microsoft's RDP protocol and will be a key part in using virtualization to create a centralized computing infrastructure.

VMware is entering into a new licensing agreement with Wyse Technology, best known for its line of thin-client PCs, which looks to enhance VMware's upcoming desktop virtualization platform offering.

In the agreement, which the two companies are planning to announce Sept. 25, VMware will license Wyse's remote display software technology to enhance both the multimedia and display abilities of Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol. VMware plans to integrate the Wyse software into its VMware View - formerly VMware Virtual Desktop Infrastructure - platform for server-based computing.

At the 2008 VMworld conference earlier this month, VMware CEO Paul Maritz said that VMware View would begin to solve what he called the "desktop dilemma" by using virtualization and a server-based computing platform to better manage and secure a range of different devices from traditional desktops to mobile device such as smart phones.

VMware hopes to begin offering its VMware View platform, along with its new data center virtualization platform called the Virtual Datacenter OS, by 2009.

What the agreement with Wyse does is help solve some of the obstacles involved with creating a server-based computing infrastructure and desktop virtualization.

The chief problem, as Wyse and VMware see it, is delivering a richer desktop experience for the user. The Wyse software for multimedia - TCX-MMR - and for multiple displays - TCX-MDS - enhances the capabilities of the Microsoft protocol to better deliver Windows XP and Vista, along with rich multimedia content, in a virtual environment. It also loans support for using more than one display.

Jeff McNaught, the chief marketing officer for Wyse, said the company has been developing this software for a number of years to enhance Microsoft's RDP as well as Citrix's Independent Computing Architecture, or ICA.

The reason that Wyse turned to software to help enhance these two protocols was to show that its thin-client PCs were capable of handing richer content, such as video, and that users could have multiple displays, which have become essential in both the financial services industry and in verticals markets such as health care and education.

With VMware and other vendors pushing desktop virtualization, Wyse now sees a new and larger opportunity for its thin clients if it can work with VMware to deliver a true desktop experience on a thin PC.

"As we started to move into desktop virtualization, this became even more important," said McNaught, referring to Wyse's research into developing software to improve the various protocols.

"The idea of desktop virtualization, which solves many problems from the past, will fail if a couple of key things were not addressed," McNaught added. "The primary issue is user experience. What Wyse did was begin developing protocol extensions for ICA and RDP to address issues such as delivering multiple displays, multimedia and peripheral support."

While VMware is using the technology for multiple displays and multimedia, it did not license the Wyse software for peripherals.

For now, VMware is planning to support the Microsoft RDP with its View desktop virtualization platform since that is the standard used by most of the company's customers, said Raj Mallempati, a VMware marketing manager.

That's not to say that VMware is not exploring other options other than Microsoft.

At VMworld, the company announced that it had signed an agreement with Teradici, a Canadian startup company that uses ASIC microprocessor technology and has developed what it calls "PC over IP." This hardware-based technology compresses rendered display data and USB signals into a digital format and then sends a signal from a company's computer network through an IP network to the desktop. This not only provides for a better desktop display but also a more secure connection between the client and the data center.

"What we believe in is a multi-protocol strategy," said Mallempati. "Depending on the use cases, there is a right protocol to justify the support of multiple solutions."

For now, VMware has no plans to support ICA. Citrix has its own desktop virtualization infrastructure platform through its XenDesktop and XenApp products and is seen, along with Microsoft, as VMware's main rival in creating a viable server-based platform.