IBM announces Virtualized Hosted Client Infrastructure with VMware and Citrix

Quoting from the IBM official announcement:

IBM today announced the company is teaming with VMware and Citrix to launch the first offering of the new IBM Virtualized Hosted Client Infrastructure that delivers full desktop functionality to any client from highly reliable and secure xSeries and BladeCenter servers. IBM is announcing a new pre-integrated hosted client solution that is based on VMware virtual infrastructure software and leverages Citrix client access technologies to host multiple users of fully functional desktop environments on IBM BladeCenter, while increasing efficiencies such as utilization of computing resources and quicker deployment of new users. With the new virtualized solution, customers could see total cost savings of up to 60 percent and return on investment in as short as six months.

IBM’s Virtualized Hosted Client Infrastructure helps overcome a key obstacle to adoption of hosted client architectures: resistance from the desktop user. Users will be able to enjoy all of the benefits and personal control of a stand alone desktop — functionality including print capabilities, USB drive support, dual monitors and audio — while reducing many of the hassles of a “fat client,” including limiting susceptibility to theft and viruses, extended downtime during a hard drive failure, or having to rebuild their preferences and settings after each client “refresh.” This new solution is ideal for all types of knowledge workers with constant computing requirements, and also for remote employees, branch office environments like automobile dealerships or retail stores, customer service call centers and software developers.

“Existing hosted client solutions gain some efficiencies by consolidating clients, but they fall short of delivering the full potential for client experience and IT efficiency,” said Doug Balog, vice president and business line executive, BladeCenter, IBM Systems and Technology Group. “IBM’s Virtualized Hosted Client Infrastructure with VMware virtual infrastructure software can provide high utilization, performance and reliability, allowing customers to reduce cost and complexity, while providing the level of desktop functionality and quality of support that end users have come to expect.”

The first solution to be rolled out using the Virtualized Hosted Client Infrastructure is based on IBM BladeCenter, VMware’s virtual infrastructure product line — which has been proven in production at more than 10,000 customers worldwide — and Citrix Presentation Server, the industry standard for providing access to client/server and desktop-based applications using application virtualization. VMware and Citrix are two key founding members of, a collaborative organization and developer community focused on accelerating the expansion of blade solutions and the BladeCenter ecosystem.

“VMware virtual infrastructure makes it possible to have one common infrastructure for both desktops and servers and has enormous benefits for customers implementing client hosting. It delivers availability, responsiveness, flexibility, scalability and cost benefits,” said Brian Byun, vice president of strategic alliances at VMware. “VMware virtual infrastructure boosts server utilization rates to up to 80 percent, driving more efficiencies than a solution that is merely dedicated hardware to support desktop features. We’re excited to be working with IBM on continuing to bring these benefits to customers with IBM’s new Virtualized Hosted Client Infrastructure offering.”

“The new IBM Virtualized Hosted Client integrated solution including Citrix keeps security and management under IT control while enabling a more productive and personal work environment for end users,” said David Jones, corporate vice president, business development and corporate affairs, for Citrix. “Citrix has added a new capability to Citrix Presentation Server that works with IBM BladeCenter and VMware virtualization technologies to enable dynamic provisioning of hosted clients running full Windows XP Desktop images in a secure data center. The resulting solution is used to provide the rich experience that PC users have come to expect and is now available from thin clients or legacy PC’s.”

Citrix Presentation Server allows customers to deliver full desktop capability on any client from anywhere with high levels of security and little to no downtime. In addition, the images of the application appear on a user’s local, remote or mobile computer screen allowing them to work seamlessly regardless of their location, connection or device.

The IBM Virtualized Hosted Client Infrastructure brings new important benefits to the information technology (IT) department. In addition to delivering security and control, IBM’s new solution uses VMware virtual infrastructure software to help improve IT department efficiencies by optimizing resource utilization, as well as increase end user performance by dynamically provisioning resources to meet the performance needs of each virtual hosted client machine. This enables companies to support more users with fewer resources, while offering the best possible desktop experience from virtually anywhere and on virtually any device.

Today’s announcement expands beyond the existing VMware virtualization capabilities on IBM xSeries and BladeCenter, and reinforces IBM’s commitment to deliver virtualization across its entire systems line of products. In July, IBM introduced the Virtualization Engine 2.0 as part of IBM’s comprehensive Systems Agenda. Last week, IBM announced new virtualization technologies, including software and systems, and extended its global virtualization leadership and ecosystem with new technologies and a collaborator interoperability program.

The IBM Virtualized Hosted Client Infrastructure will be delivered by IBM Global Services (IGS). IGS is currently enrolling customers for pilot implementations, and an IGS service offering is planned to be available in first quarter of 2006. In addition, availability is planned through select IBM Business Partners.

IBM Global Services has skills and capabilities to help clients take advantage of the power of virtualization and hosted client architectures to create a more secure and cost effective client infrastructure. Leveraging vast experience in delivering hosted client solutions, IGS professionals can help clients evaluate existing applications, images, user profiles and networks to plan, design, implement and manage their Virtualized Hosted Client Infrastructure.

Brian Madden wrote an interesting insight about this announcement on his site:
Providing Desktops to Users: Centralized Virtual Machines or Terminal Server Desktops?