VMware continues virtual desktop push with Intel

VMware is continuing its virtual desktop push, this time adding Intel as a partner as it announces a new client hypervisor.

VMware added a new Client Virtualisation Platform to its View desktop virtualisation lineup. CVP is a bare-metal hypervisor, which will sit on desktops and notebooks running Intel's vPro, a feature of its virtualisation-optimised laptop chipsets.

The setup takes the idea of virtual desktops and applies it not just to thin client terminals, but to so-called "thick clients" those devices called computers and laptops we use every day.

The idea is that everyone in a firm would access their own "desktop" image from any device be it a thin client terminal, laptop out of the office, or even "an internet caf in Guatamala," chief executive Paul Maritz explained.

Maritz told attendees of the VMworld Europe conference in Cannes today that its about time companies learned to provision users, not devices. "As an industry, we've got this backwards," he said. "This is really about users people stay, devices come and go."

Not only does client virtualisation let users pick their own device, it means IT admins can manage just a handful of user templates, upgrading and patching to a much smaller number than the entire client estate. While the system works in theory on any device, the use of Intel's vPro system lets managers update PCs even if the computer is shutdown.

Such virtualisation also means users can work online or offline, as the desktop image all the applications and data, as well as operating system associated with that user is downloaded to the computer. When the user reconnects, whether it's after getting off a plane or after several weeks, the image syncs to the server and updates the central system of any changes.

As the image can be downloaded anywhere there's a network connection, "if your laptop your using dies you can basically throw it away and get a new one and log on and keep going," said Maritz, illustrating the disaster recover possibilities.

It also heralds a new era of "buy your own PC" where computers are treated more like smartphones, and chosen by the individual based on what they prefer.

Because of this, it offers firms the chance to do client virtualisation "without any compromise," said Intel's vice president of its business client group, Gregory Bryant, explaining that users no longer had to use thin clients at the cost of high performance and mobility.

"This announcement and solution is going to make client virtualisation a potentially very mainstream offering for business and enterprise," Bryant added.

The CVP hypervisor will be hitting OEMs in the second half 2009, with products to follow.

Click here for more virtualisation news from VMworld Europe 2009.