Businesses are facing a desktop IT dilemma, VMware Director of Product Marketing Raj Mallempati said in an interview with Wikibon cofounder David Vellante and SiliconAngle founder John Furrier on SiliconAngle.TV from VMworld2010. Their immediate problem is that they are facing an expensive, time and resource consuming migration to from Vista and XP to Windows 7. Their medium term problem is what he called the “blob” architecture of the desktop in general, in which if applications act up the entire system has problems. And the longer term issue is empowering collaboration across the enterprise and beyond.
“What we are trying to do with desktop virtualization is to modernize that architecture,” Mallempati said. “Customers are looking for an opportunity to modernize their desktops, and Windows 7 is a key triggering event for updating.”
Desktop virtualization simplifies the Windows 7 migration and removes much of the cost. In environments with strong network connections, VDI can be delivered as a thin client. But it also can be downloaded and run offline. And the VMware desktop virtualization package also includes a tool that allows users to virtualize individual Windows applications, allowing them to be run either normally in Windows or as virtual apps on mobile systems. It also can virtualize SAS-based applications, but that raises identity management issues. VMware has acquired technology that it intends to apply to fixing that issue, Mallempati said. So the VMware strategy is not just a thin client approach.
Longer range, the collaboration strategy will be built on Zimbra (www.vmware.com/products/zimbra/), he said. In its present iteration, Zimbra is an e-mail engine built from the ground up for the virtual environment, which differentiates it from Microsoft Exchange and Lotus Notes. It is now running 60 million mailboxes in the VMware/EMC instantiation. However, it also provides what Mallempati called “a very interesting platform for collaboration.
“Then as time goes on we will talk about managing the [unstructured] data in Zimbra itself,” he said. “That is where it gets interesting.”
Action Item: VDI is a key component of the new wave of virtualized/cloud/mobile computing that is sweeping the IT industry and larger culture. Desktop and application virtualization abstracts the user functionality, what used to be called the desktop, from any one platform. It will allow a user to access their work and personal desktops when and wherever they want, to do what they need to do on whatever physical platform happens to be most convenient at the moment. This means users will access their environments on their laptop at their desk, on a slate computer like the iPad in a meeting, or on a smartphone or PDA while walking down the street not only to read email and chat but to enter information, trigger processes, use spreadsheets -- whatever they need to do at that time.