One of the more significant issues with desktop virtualization is that it can be both costly to deploy and difficult to manage at scale. As a result, many organizations have deployed desktop virtualization software in one form or another with mixed success.
Looking to give those IT organizations another option, VMware today announced a Safe Passage program for its Horizon desktop virtualization software and AirWatch by VMware enterprise mobility management (EMM) service, through which it is providing tools and incentives that make switching from a rival desktop virtualization offering less costly.
In addition to creating a new Horizon 6 upgrade kit along with a migration service and tools specifically aimed at Citrix XenApp installations, Erik Frieberg, vice president of product marketing for end user computing at VMware, says VMware will provide customers that make the switch to Horizon 6 with three years of support and subscription service for roughly the cost of three years of their existing solution and support. The goal, says Frieberg, is not only to make it less challenging to make the switch to Horizon from a technical perspective, but also make it “cost neutral.”
Desktop virtualization as a percentage of the total desktops deployed is still relatively small. Frieberg says VMware is betting that with the rise of the cloud and a new generation of servers that make it practical to run desktop virtualization in memory, a substantially improved user experience will drive more customers to embrace both desktop and application virtualization. Couple that with the need to support multiple flavors of Windows alongside Apple and Google devices, and Frieberg says the pressure on IT organizations to find a more efficient approach to managing desktops is mounting.
VMware has yet to fully integrate Horizon and the AirWatch by VMware service that it acquired earlier this year, but Frieberg says IT organizations should continue to watch this space. In the meantime, as IT organizations continue to come to terms with the convergence of desktop and mobile computing environments running on servers, the internal IT politics that often separate the management of desktops and servers is now a bigger impediment to the adoption of desktop virtualization than anything to do with the technology itself.