Our analysts leave VMworld 2010 having had great fun, having met some most excellent people and having been impressed with interesting vendors. Yet one thing puzzles after attending and discussing what we’ve experienced.
What is the focus of VMware’s Desktop Strategy?
- Is VMware really committed the Desktop Virtualization Market?
- What is VMware’s strategy going forward?
- How will VMware Differentiate from the Competition?
- How will VMware compete with the new vendors looking to disrupt and reinvent the desktop space?
Enterprises and mid-sized businesses (SME’s) face two significant challenges and opportunities with respect to the end user desktops in the next two years. The first opportunity and challenge is how to replace the ageing Windows XP installed base with the recently released Windows 7 platform. The second is how to end up with a desktop environment that is inherently more flexible and manageable than what is in place today.
Microsoft is due to ship Windows 7 this year. While normally the release of a new desktop OS would not be a major topic in the world of virtualization, it turns out that maybe this time it should be. For the follow reasons:
- Based upon early reports of the migration process, it is not going to be easy to migrate Windows XP desktops to Windows 7 (Vista Migrations are supposed to be easy). Windows XP constitutes by far the lion’s share of the installed base of Windows desktops, the early data says that this promises to be an extremely arduous and expensive process for enterprises worldwide.
- Once the process of migrating to Windows 7 is complete, will enterprises end up with desktop environments that are fundamentally more manageable than what they have today? The key to avoiding future painful migrations is to put management technologies in place that allow for wholesale changes to the end user computing environment to be much easier than they are today.
While server virtualization has largely settled down into a slugfest between VMware (vSphere), Microsoft (Hyper-V) and to a lesser extent Citrix (XenServer), and Red Hat (KVM), the desktop virtualization field remains wide open, and is being targeted by numerous startups with highly creative and appealing solutions. While VMware (View and ThinApp), Microsoft (App-V and MED-V), and Citrix (XenDesktop) certainly represent the large players in the field, startups like Install Free, MokaFive, Virtual Computer, SlickAccess, Unidesk, Kaviza, and Ringcube all bring unique and differentiated solutions to the table.