VMware Delves Deeper into Desktops

The virtualization vendor has officially released Virtual Desktop Manager 2.

VMware is looking to make it easier to create a centralized computing environment.

The company on Jan. 30 released the second version of its Virtual Desktop Manager, which adds additional management features and capabilities for its Virtual Desktop Infrastructure suite.

At the 2007 VMworld conference, CEO Diane Greene described Virtual Desktop Manager 2 as a "connection broker" that will enable enterprises to centralize their desktop management by combining the Desktop Infrastructure suite with VMware's Infrastructure 3 platform for servers.

While vendors have flirted with developing centralized computer models for some time, the last year has seen a renewed interest in creating ways for enterprises to control and manage clients from a centralized location in the data center. On Jan. 24, Hewlett-Packard announced several new thin client devices and new technology from its acquisition of Neoware that will help better deliver applications from the data center to the end client.

IBM, Dell and NEC, along with thin client specialist Wyse, also have plans to offer better centralized models. At the heart of this change is virtualization technology, which allows an enterprise to run multiple virtual desktop images on one server while allowing each user image and application set to remain isolated from one another.

Vendors such as HP, IBM and others have turned to VMware to provide the virtual environments needed for this type of computing model. In turn, VMware is paying more attention to developing the management tools that enterprises need to control a centralized environment. Earlier this month, VMware acquired Thinstall, a privately held company that specializes in application virtualization.

VMware also has its eye on virtualization for the individual desktop or laptop with its ACE products. In a paper released in 2007, research firm Gartner predicted the number of virtual machines will reach 4 million by 2008, with client virtualization having more potential than traditional server virtualization.

While some analysts see this type of virtualized, centralized model as the future of computing in the enterprise, others say vendors not only have to convince enterprises to radically alter their infrastructure, but also to convince employees to give up some of the control they have with traditional desktops.

The Virtual Desktop Manager is bundled with VMware's VDI. The VMware VDI Starter Edition, which enables 10 virtual desktops, starts at $1,500. The VMware VDI Bundle 100 Pack, which enables 100 virtual desktops, starts at $15,000.