With its eye on the ready-to-take-off desktop virtualization market, Microsoft announced two new Vista licensing options for large enterprises with Software Assurance contracts.
Option one: a license for Windows Vista Enterprise on "diskless PCs."
Option two: a subscription to Windows Vista Enterprise Centralized Desktops (VECD), a kind of pumped-up Terminal Services.
This PCWorld piece reports that Microsoft plans to gather data from early adopters over the next two years to expand the offerings.
One area it would be well-advised to monitor: whether desktop virtualization actually reduces IT's asset management load.
Lessons learned by the same large enterprise targets while they were leading the way with server and application virtualization haven't all been pretty. Yes, flexibility grows, but so can complexity requiring a high-touch approach. As 3PAR's Geoff Hough told IT Business Edge in a recent interview, "... if you virtualize it in a way that requires 10 touch points instead of one, or in a way that masks, but does not eliminate, underlying complexity, then you have failed to solve the larger problem of ballooning administrative effort."
Hough's comments can be read to lay the blame for virtualization management missteps at the feet of the IT department, but Microsoft, like virtualization software giant VMware and other vendors, could take its share of the slings and arrows if everything begins to go awry.