With more IT organizations studying their desktop options thanks to the imminent cessation of Windows XP support, vendors see an opportunity to usurp Microsoft’s control of the enterprise desktop for the first time in decades.
Looking to seize that opportunity, VMware today announced it has acquired Desktone, a provider of a desktop as a service (DaaS) offering delivered via the cloud while enhancing its VMware Horizon Suite desktop virtualization software and Socialcast workspace management software.
With many IT organizations having yet to make the jump to Windows 7 or 8, VMware’s acquisition of Desktone will give customers an alternative to upgrading client systems, which are costly. As an alternative, VMware is essentially proposing that enterprise IT organizations move their Windows desktops into a cloud service that is easier for them to manage.
According to Erik Frieberg, vice president of marketing for end-user computing at VMware, while only 8 to 10 percent of desktops today are virtual, movement to virtual desktops is accelerating. Driving that shift, says Frieberg, is everything from a lack of Microsoft support for Windows XP to the diversity of client devices that need to be supported in a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) era.
Frieberg says DaaS gives IT organizations an effective way to manage thousands of desktops for both full-time employees and contractors without having to invest capital in physical infrastructure. Ultimately, Frieberg says desktop environments will be hybrid, especially as IT organizations rely more on virtual desktops to support contract employees.
The goal, adds Mason Uyeda, senior director of technical marketing for end-user computing at VMware, is to give end users all the features they have come to expect of Windows via a delivery system that significantly lowers the pressure on the internal IT organization when it comes to actually managing all those desktops.
At the VMworld Europe 2013 conference, VMware unveiled version 5.3 of VMware Horizon View, which gives mobile users access to desktop applications and now supports 3D graphics and a new VMware Virtual SAN offering that is in beta. Uyeda says that latter capability is critical because it helps reduce the storage costs that have been holding back adoption of desktop virtualization. VMware also released an update to VMware Mirage to help facilitate migrations to Windows 7.
Uyeda concedes that most IT organizations are still primarily focused on desktop virtualization platforms such as VMware View. But as those organizations become more comfortable with desktop virtualization, VMware is betting that customers will quickly need to add additional capabilities.
Whether all those capabilities need to be acquired separately or will be more easily integrated into a core platform remains to be seen, but the notion of a desktop is now more of a virtual concept than an actual physical space that resides on a local PC.