VMware Buys Desktone and Adds Desktop-as-a-Service

VMworld2013.150pxVMware announced its intention to purchase Desktop-as-a-Service vendor Desktone at this year’s VMworld in Barcelona. The first strategic purchase by VMware’s EVP and General Manager of End-User Computing, Sanjay Poonen, Desktone finally sets the stage for VMware to bring to market its first defined cloud service.

Desktone released its first product to the market in 2007, at a time when VDI trends were growing. Its focus on smaller markets did not present a threat to the larger players, Citrix and VMware. In fact, in its round of Series-A funding, which totaled just over $17 million, Desktone had Citrix as one of its three major investors. Desktone went to market with a Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) solution that eased the burden on smaller companies of buying, configuring, and maintaining the very expensive hardware that accompanied internally hosted VDI solutions. Desktone was positioned as an enabler of DaaS and hosted VDI. It successfully built a large ecosystem of Service Providers, including Dell, Fujitsu, IBM, and NEC, which were offering DaaS solutions to their customers. The platform Desktone provided enabled multitenancy, extensible infrastructure flexibility, and end-user self-service for these Service Providers.

EUC could be the first service for VMware’s Hybrid Cloud

I was a little disappointed back at VMworld in San Francisco six weeks ago to hear very little about the new strategy for EUC, other than being introduced to Sanjay Poonen in his role leading the EUC initiative. In his blog post on the Desktone acquisition, Sanjay states, “With this acquisition, VMware instantly becomes a leading provider of desktop-as-a-service with the opportunity to set the course for the entire industry moving forward while placing VMware ahead of the competition in this category of cloud computing.” Picking up Desktone has brought along more than 40 Service Providers that are delivering DaaS services today. Adding the partnership with Savvis for infrastructure services, VMware now has an extensible infrastructure backbone with which to make DaaS its first defined and resellable service.

As VMware moves forward with its rollout of the Hybrid Cloud service platform, some customers may be reluctant, during the first phase, to hand over all control of services to VMware. There is also some confusion from customers regarding which services they should be willing to transition over to this type of service. Moving mission-critical applications and services to a cloud provider for more than just a disaster recovery solution adds a level of complexity to an environment configured at the user’s desktop. Having the desktop workload run from the same infrastructure on which applications and data reside can ease the complexity. Acquiring a product that is already end-user self-service enabled and that has a hybrid on-prem/off-prem capability and a simplified management interface should make this service more attractive to new customers.

What we are looking out for now is how VMware will market and price this new offering to the public. There could be a leveling out of basic service pricing across the providers, which would make the cost differentials focus primarily on the value-added that each provider brings to the customer. Unlike desktop service providers that are delivering offerings based on Microsoft RDS, VDI offerings are still restricted by the Windows EULA. The EULA requires a single Windows license for allocation to a single user and the user’s hardware, which is keeping the cost of DaaS higher.

To read more on TVP’s previous discussions of Desktone:

Full VMware press release.