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Sep 01 2012

VMworld Coverage – Day 2 – VDI, talent show and more beta products

Little late posting this but better late then never. Day 2 at VMworld and the keynote was mostly dominated by VMware’s End User Computing (VDI) initiatives. They showed off some pretty slick stuff including a seamless real-time upgrade of a user desktop from Windows XP to Windows 7 as well as some great mobility options for users, but and this is a BIG but, it’s still all in development and you won’t see it for quite a while. VMware has been known to demo VDI stuff at VMworld and then it kind of disappears for a while and you don’t hear much about it (i.e Octopus). I do realize the whole VDI side is like a big puzzle with many pieces and VMware has a lot of work ahead of them to get them so they fit just right. Hopefully we finally see the fruits of their labor on the VDI side soon.

Remember years ago when VMware wanted to virtualize smart phones with their ambitious Mobile Virtualization Platform (MVP). The concept was you run a hypervisor like ESXi on your phone and then be able to have multiple persona’s, VMs essentially, on it to be able to completely separate one phone environment from one another (personal vs. work). I always questioned that, not that the technology wasn’t there to do it, but the phone carriers and manufacturers would never go for it. There was no way in hell that VMware would ever be able to convince Apple, one of the big players to ever do that. Since that announcement we’ve never heard much about MVP at all, well judging from VMworld this year MVP is officially dead and VMware has made an end run to approach the concept through apps and thin clients instead.

Since VMware can’t control the hardware or OS on the phone they decided to move up to the application layer and attack it there. VMware demonstrated at VMworld how they would do this with Apple iOS with Horizon Mobile which leverages the ability to deploy apps outside the Apple iTunes store and store them inside secure folders. Sounds great but when will this be available? Who knows, VMware claims a beta will be coming by the end of  the year but I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for it. They do need to conquer the mobile phone market somehow so they cover that endpoint for VDI but they have a big challenge ahead of them to successfully do that across all the platforms. VMware isn’t really in a position to dictate the future of mobile phone computing as much as they would like to, mobile computing is nothing at all like server or desktop virtualization, all they can hope to do is try and position themselves as best as they can to integrate with it. VMware also made fun of the new Windows mobile phone but they better take them seriously as they are going to rapidly gain market share. You can read a good write-up on VMware’s mobile efforts over at Ars Technica who is declaring it vaporware.

Also in the keynote VMware tried something new this year by letting their biggest partners, Cisco, Dell, EMC, HP & NetApp all do 4 minute live demos on stage. I’ll summarize this with I hope VMware doesn’t do this again next year. While it’s good to showcase partner technology and integration, the live talent show theme didn’t play well, Cisco’s attempt at a music video wasn’t well received at all. They also had live voting via a web-based polling app so every could vote for their favorite with the winner getting a donation to the charity of their choice. Unfortunately the polling website couldn’t handle the load from voting and many attendees couldn’t even vote.

Finally just wanted to mention the good folks over at SolarWinds who sponsored me for this event, be sure and check out their great VMware management solutions.