VMWorld 2011: VMware refreshes View virtual desktop software

VMware has released version 5 of its View VDI package

Keeping pace with its rivals in the VDI (virtual desktop interface) market, VMware has updated its desktop virtualization software so that users can now personalize their desktops and stream them over WANs (wide area networks), the company said Monday.

VMware View 5.0 delivers these features because they were specifically requested by users, explained Paul Maritz, CEO of VMware, who introduced the update at the company's VMworld conference, being held this week in Las Vegas.

Similar features were also just introduced in a VDI product update offered by one of VMware's main competitors. Last week, Citrix Systems updated its own VDI package, which also included WAN optimization and personalization capabilities.

Typically, VDI can be cumbersome over a WAN connection, and vendors have emphasized its use on shorter-haul LANs (local area networks) instead. With this release VMware was able to reduce the amount of bandwidth needed for streaming a VDI by as much as 75 percent, making VDI over WAN possible, according to the company. This improved performance came about as a result of the way the company re-engineered the compression algorithms in PCoIP (PC-over-IP), the protocol it uses for delivering virtual desktops to end-users. View also augmented user-side caching so it can execute tasks such as running Flash animations locally.

User personalization is another new feature in View 5.0. Administrators can embed departmental applications and configure custom settings for the virtual desktops, without the desktops taking up more space in storage. VMware acquired this technology, called Persona Management, when it purchased RTO Software in 2010.

VMware View 5.0 is also the first version to offer support for viewing three-dimensional visualization, paving the way for running high-end modeling applications, as well as for rendering the Windows 7 Aero interface.

In addition to updating View, VMware also updated a related piece of software for VDI environments, VMware Horizon, an application portal first introduced in May. The new version of the software can also deliver to users Windows-based applications, in addition to the cloud based applications the earlier version provided. The company has also released a version for mobile applications, VMware Horizon Mobile.

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