VMware have recently announced the latest release of it’s desktop virtualization product, VMware View 4 with the GA being on the 19th November.
This version of VMware View includes the PCoIP Protocol from Teredici which greatly assists in the smooth streaming of desktop video over varying connection types and speeds. The PCoIP client will be available for the Windows OS platform initially with Linux shortly after and then Mac OSX. VMware are quoting improved desktop sessions per core with the new version which runs on vSphere – this is partly down to the increased performance now found in the latest processors such as Intel’s Nehalem.
VMware View 4 is run on vSphere (ESX 4) meaning that you get many of the associated benefits such as rapid provisioning from a gold template build, patching, centralized management and security to name a few.
This version of VMware View comes with some exciting new features that now build an even more compelling case to seriously have a look at desktop virtualization and VMware View in particular. There are a couple of features with this release that are at this stage only experimental though I am hoping that their status will change sometime in the not-so distant future, for example: Windows 7 support won’t be available until Q1 2010.
Here are some of these new features as outlined by VMware in their View datasheet:
Simplified Desktop Management
Desktop and application virtualization breaks the bonds
between software, hardware and operating systems, eliminating
the need to actually install or manage desktop environments
on end user devices. From a central location you can deliver,
manage and update all of your Windows desktops and
applications in minutes. VMware View makes the testing,
provisioning and support of applications and desktops much
easier and less costly.
Automated Desktop Provisioning
Through View Manager 4, VMware View provides a single
management tool to provision new desktops or groups of
desktops, and an easy interface for setting desktop policies.
Using a template, you can customize virtual pools of desktops
and easily set policies, such as how many virtual machines
can be in a pool, or logoff parameters. This feature enables
greater IT efficiency by automating and centralizing desktop
Advanced Virtual Desktop Image Management
Based on the mature Linked Clone technology, View Composer
enables the rapid creation of desktop images from a master
image. Whatever updates are implemented on the parent image
can be pushed out to any number of virtual desktops in minutes,
greatly simplifying deployment and patches and reducing costs.
The process does not affect user settings, data or applications,
so the user remains productive on a working desktop, even while
the changes are being applied.
Superior End User Experience
Address the broadest range of use cases and deployment
options with VMware View’s new PCoIP protocol technology,
and deliver a high-performance desktop, even over high latency
and low bandwidth connections. PCoIP’s adaptive technology
is optimized for the delivery of virtual desktops to users on the
LAN or over the WAN. VMware View gives users access to their
virtual desktops over a wide variety of virtual desktop devices,
without any performance degradation, anytime. They can also
play rich media content, choose from any number of monitor
configurations and seamlessly access locally attached peripheral
devices such as printers, scanners and mass storage.
VMware View offers strong network security to protect sensitive
corporate data. SSL tunneling ensures all connections are
completely encrypted. Additionally, VMware View Manager fully
supports RSA SecurID® and provides the added security of twofactor
authentication for tightened access control.
Availability and Scalability
VMware View delivers high availability, with no single point of
failure. VMware High Availability (HA) ensures automatic failover
and provides pervasive, cost-effective protection within your
virtualized desktop environment, without the cost or complexity
of traditional clustering solutions. Additionally, advanced
clustering capabilities on the physical and virtual layers provide
Streamlined Application Management
VMware ThinApp application virtualization separates
applications from underlying operating systems for increased
compatibility and streamlined application management.
Applications packaged with ThinApp can be run on servers in
the datacenter and accessible through a shortcut on the virtual
desktop, reducing the size of the desktop image and subsequent
storage needs. Since ThinApp isolates and virtualizes
applications, multiple applications or multiple versions of the
same applications run on users’ virtual desktops without
conflict. Applications are managed and deployed centrally,
ensuring that all users desktops are up-to-date with the latest
(Experimental) Offline Desktop
Offline Desktop, an experimental feature in VMware View
4, increases productivity by allowing you to run managed
virtual desktops locally or in the datacenter through the same
administration framework. Simply download a virtual desktop
onto your local client device. All existing security policies for
that virtual desktop continue to be applied and enforced.
Later, you can check the desktop back into the datacenter
(Experimental) Windows 7 Support
Reduce costs and complexity of desktop migration by delivering
Windows 7 as a virtual desktop.
There has been some discussion around this release of VMware View with not everyone 100% convinced with it:
It comes in two versions, Enterprise and Premier with VMware View 4 Enterprise Edition priced at $150 per concurrent connection and the Premier Edition at $250 per concurrent connection. The following is a summary of the differences between the editions:
The following is a video with VMware’s President & CEO, Paul Maritz and Steve Herrod, Senior VP of R&D and Technical Officer which gives a good introduction to VMware View and some of its new features (eg: PCoIP protocol).
Here’s another video giving a general (marketing type) overview that you may also want to have a look at:
Extra Information & Links: