VMware expands desktop virtualization to Linux

VMware Horizon 6 will be able to deliver Red Hat and Ubuntu Linux desktops

VMware's VMware Horizon desktop virtualization software suite will soon deliver virtual Linux desktops over a network, in addition to the Microsoft Windows desktops it has long provided for remote workers.

The company has launched an early access program for customers to test a version of Horizon 6 that can package server-based Red Hat and Ubuntu Linux desktops so they can be accessed from remote computers and mobile devices.

Although Windows remains the dominant platform for enterprise desktops, at least a small percentage of organizations use Linux instead, according to market reports.

VMware Horizon for Linux Early Access Program addresses this market segment of Linux desktops. The software is designed to allow administrators to control their organization's Linux virtual desktops with the same tools that they use to manage their Windows virtual desktops.

Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) software can be handy for organizations that have mobile workers who need to access applications and desktop environments from multiple devices. Virtual desktops can also simplify the large-scale management of software and operating systems.

VMware's Horizon 6, released a year ago, consolidated VMware desktop virtualization products into a single suite. The suite covers both the back-end management of the desktops and applications as well as the delivery of this software to different end-user devices such as mobile phones and computers.

Thursday, the company updated Horizon 6 with additional capabilities for managing three-dimensional images and for integrating into software defined networks (SDNs).

The software now supports VMware NSX, which is the company's set of technologies for virtualizing network resources, allowing administrators to set up and tear down virtual networks more quickly.

To enable 3D graphics, VMware has worked with graphics card maker Nvidia to use that company's virtual GPU technology on the server side so that it can deliver rich graphics to the remote desktop. The software also provides a way for remote applications to access files from a thumb drive plugged into the user's machine.

VMware Horizon starts at US$250 per seat, and is sold in lots of 10 or 100.

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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Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
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