VMware answers to Citrix on XenClient

Posted by virtualization.info Staff   |   Saturday, May 15th, 2010   |  

Earlier this week, Citrix unveiled the public Release Candidate of its client hypervisor XenClient, beating on time VMware and its upcoming Client Virtualization Platform (CVP).

The VMware’s reaction has been instantaneous: the day after the announcement, the company released an article about the Bring Your Own Computer (BYOC) IT governance model, claiming that its current approach is way better and the real one.

Like Citrix in fact, VMware delayed multiple times the release of its client hypervisor, at the point that the upcoming release 4.5 of View, will not include it, as many have hoped.
VMware rather preferred to remove the experimental label from an existing feature of View Client for the so-called offline VDI scenarios that is simply called Local Mode.

Local Mode leverages VMware Workstation as the virtualization platform on the end-user laptop where the virtual desktop will run once disconnected from the corporate network.
VMware announced this feature in September 2008, implemented it in View 3.0 and kept it experimental so far. Meanwhile announced the additional effort on CVP as a step beyond.

Local Mode is still experimental. It won’t be a fully supported feature before the release of View 4.5, which apparently has been postponed.

In his post VMware lists a number of reasons why a hosted virtualization platform is better than a bare-metal one for offline VDI. A couple of them are valid:

  • the installation is non-destructive (non need to format the laptop hard drive and install from scratch)
  • larger compatibility list (every laptop supported by the host operating system will work, so pretty much all the ones that exist on the market, both for Windows and Linux)

Despite that, the VMware’s behavior here seems identical to the much criticized one that Microsoft had with memory over-commitment.

For years at Redmond, the virtualization team publicly downplayed the importance of memory overcommitment techniques that only VMware could offer in its server-side hypervisor.
But recently the company announced the upcoming arrival of Dynamic Memory (a form of memory ballooning) as part of the Hyper-V Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1.
Of course VMware has been quick in pointing out how Microsoft is radically changing its position about dynamic memory management.

The case here may be identical: VMware is now suggesting that bare-metal client hypervisors won’t be good for offline VDI until CVP will be ready. At that point it’s easy to expect that the company will sell it as the next frontier of the BYOC technology.

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