VMware acquires CloudVolumes for faster virtual app delivery

CloudVolumes provides VMware a way to deliver applications on the fly to desktop computers and servers

Extending its desktop virtualization stack, VMware has acquired CloudVolumes, a 3-year-old startup that developed software for delivering virtualized applications on the fly.

"Fundamentally customers are trying to move to a world where they can reduce complexity and cost not just by simplifying application management infrastructure, but by leveraging real-time application delivery to reduce support costs," wrote Harry Labana, CloudVolumes' senior vice president and chief product officer, explaining the potential appeal of his company's software, in a blog post announcing the acquisition.

VMware plans to integrate CloudVolumes' software more tightly with VMware Horizon, which is VMware's desktop virtualization software.

CloudVolumes' software can deliver an application, along with supporting programs and libraries, to a running virtual or physical machine, using a technique known as layering.

This layering approach eliminates the need to install the application directly on a physical or virtual machine.

The CloudVolumes software packages the application within a container that can be quickly copied out to multiple users. The administrator sets the basic configuration for the application within a single "gold master" copy that can be shared by all the users. The CloudVolumes software maintains the customized settings for each user within the user's own environment.

The approach works with both desktop and laptop computers, as well as with Windows and Linux servers. CloudVolumes software can also work with XenApp and XenDesktop, both of which are desktop virtualization offerings from VMware rival Citrix.

The acquisition is an indicator that the virtualization market continues to be a hotbed of competition, with vendors looking for ways to offer performance advantages.

CloudVolume's modular approach is somewhat similar to Docker, another container-based virtualization technology that has been generating much interest of late. The open-source Docker, which is offered by Google as a cloud service, speeds the responsiveness of virtualized applications by packing them in containers that can be run by the host's OS, rather than by the OS within the virtual machine itself.

VMware did not specify if it would operate CloudVolumes as a stand-alone subsidiary, or fold the company's software and personnel into its own operations. VMware may reveal more of its plans for CloudVolumes at its VMworld annual user conference, being held next week in San Francisco.

CloudVolumes is based in Santa Clara, California. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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