VMware hopes to boost VDI popularity with new program

Preconfigured appliances should make it easier to get started, the company says

VMware is launching the Rapid Desktop Program, which allows OEMs to build pre-configured appliances for desktop virtualization, making it easier for enterprises to start using the technology, the company said at VMworld in Copenhagen.

"The Rapid Desktop Program and the resulting products is about making sure that we can get customers and partners to deploy the initial proof of concept and pilot much, much faster," said Raj Mallempati, director of product marketing for desktop and application virtualization at VMware.

The program removes the barriers to configuring the entire end-to-end system, including storage, network, servers and the underlying software, according to Mallempati.

Depending on the partner, the bundled solution could also end up being cheaper than buying the included pieces separately, he said.

Besides speeding up pilot installations, the certified products will also be a good fit for use in remote offices and in small and medium-sized businesses that lack a lot of IT know-how, according to Mallempati.

To be approved, OEMs have to go through a set of tests to become certified, to ensure the system can meet VMware's performance guidelines.

The company has been working with partners for the last three to four months. On Wednesday, Pivot3 announced it is joining the program, and will start shipping its first product in November.

The stackable vStac VDI appliance can be used to run between 50 and 1,000 virtual desktops. How many users each system can support depends on the kind of applications users are running, according to Pivot3. Each appliance has two processors with six cores each, along with 96GB of RAM, 3TB of standard storage and another 200GB of solid state storage.

To increase the number of virtual desktops, up to eight appliances can be integrated into one system. The cost per desktop starts at about US$350.

VMware is hoping that bigger vendors like Dell and Hewlett-Packard will join the program, as well. The company also wants to work with storage appliance vendors.

The current iteration of the Rapid Desktop Program is only the first step and VMware is looking to include applications in future versions, according to Mallempati.

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