By now even the stones know that most virtualization vendors are shifting their focus on a new scenario to pitch: from server consolidation to desktop consolidation (aka hosted desktop environment aka virtual desktop infrastructure aka VDI).
Consolidated player and just born startups are all competing for a slice of the VDI market which is supposed to be rich and with endless potentials.
So far Microsoft carefully avoided to join the party evaluating the market too immature to massively invest in.
As part of a consolidated strategy the company preferred to leave the early opportunity for some brave partners, in this case Citrix, Quest/Provision Networks and Ericom.
Now something has changed as Microsoft has just announced the intention to offer a VDI connection broker as part of its Terminal Services product.
The new version of TS, renamed Remote Desktop Services (RDS), will appear in Windows Server 2008 R2, expected in 2010, and will feature a brand new new Remote Desktop Connection Broker.
Anyway Microsoft immediately clarifies that VDI partners are still more than welcome as:
…they will find an extensive set of APIs that will allow them to continue innovation and deliver added value to customers.
In this way Microsoft continues to overlap the Citrix offering in the virtualization space.
Of course the latter will be able to bring innovation on top of the RDS and its new connection broker like it did for years on top of Terminal Services, but the existence of XenDesktop in such scenario may become an expensive portfolio option.
It will be interesting to see how Citrix will position its offering, specifically XenServer and XenDesktop, by 2010.