VMware CVP and MVP projects alive and (almost) well

Between 2008 and 2009 VMware announced two ambitious projects: the Client Virtualization Platform (CVP) and the Mobile Virtualization Platform (MVP).

The former is a client hypervisor that should be part of the VDI product View. It has been postponed multiple times to the point that rumors suggest it is indefinitely postponed.

The latter is a hypervisor for mobile phones, powered by the technology acquired from Trango Virtual Processors
Differently from CVP, the status of MVP has been completely unknown so far: VMware suggested that it wont’ appear before the second half of 2010 but it didn’t talk about it at all in the last few months.

During the VMworld 2010 conference (read live coverage) virtualization.info had the opportunity to receive an update about both projects, which are still actively developed.

CVP has not been abandoned: even without providing any time frame for the release, VMware confirmed that it’s still committed to deliver the product on the market, and admitted that there are still some engineering challenges to address.

The MVP project is alive too: at its booth, VMware was openly demonstrating to VMworld attendees a working demo of the Mobile Virtualization Platform running on a Google Nexus One phone.
virtualization.info had the opportunity to try it firsthand: the switching between the personal and the business guest OSes was fairly smooth, and the launch speed of applications was reasonably fast.

A key point to report anyway is that the MVP architecture has been radically changed compared to the original plans: in its early demos VMware suggested that the mobile hypervisor (a type-1 VMM) would run side by side two VMs with real-time operating systems (RTOS). 
The new architecture instead adopts a hosted virtualization platform (a type-2 VMM) that runs on top of the native RTOS installed on the phone. This one is considered the “personal environment” while the VM running on top of it contains the “business environment”.

This approach poses a significant security risk as the business VM always depends on the insecure personal VM. Additionally, the phone carriers approach to fill the handset OS with unnecessary applications may negatively impact the performance of the business VM.

While this architecture is probably good for a large number of customers, those companies that have strict security guidelines may want to wait for VMware to release the type-1 VMM version of MVP, which will probably come once the market matures a little bit.