EMC Corp. subsidiary VMware Inc., which trailblazed the way for broader adoption of server virtualization, is hoping to now drive virtualization of the desktop with the help of numerous other hardware and software companies.
The virtualization software vendor Monday will announce it has formed an industry group, the Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Alliance, with more than 20 other software, hardware and service providers aimed at building joint virtual desktop offerings.
VMware envisions desktop virtualization, in which IT administrators host and centrally manage desktops in virtual machines on servers in data centers, as a way to mitigate costs and time spent on managing and securing desktop PCs, especially for companies with remote workers or outsourced operations.
Charter members of the group include application virtualization vendors Altiris Inc. and Softricity Inc.; thin-client computing providers including Sun Microsystems Inc., Wyse Technology Inc. and Citrix Systems Inc.; and PC blade and server blade makers ClearCube Technology Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co. and IBM Corp. With desktop virtualization, users could use traditional desktop PCs, thin-client devices or other hardware that can connect to servers through protocols such as Microsoft Corp.'s RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol).
But vendors still need to do a lot of work to make it easier and cheaper for users, said analysts. One of the biggest technological hurdles does not lie in hardware, but in software to manage images provisioning, and connections, Haff said.
"We're still figuring out the whole software stack, which in some respects is more complicated than in the server world because you're talking about so many more images typically and more end-point devices to manage," Haff said. "It's both maturation of different pieces, primarily the software stack, and then pooling it all together in an easily deployed way and getting the price right."
VMware will collaborate with members to create, test and integrate joint desktop hosting offerings, said Jerry Chen, director of enterprise desktops for VMware, in Palo Alto, California.