Solution Providers Call VMware View 4 Disruptive, Game-Changing

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

VMware View 4 delivers PC over IP protocol -- delivering virtualized PC desktops to the client side for the first time. The technology promises to provide cost reductions in the form of simplified IT management as well as quick and easy disaster recovery.

Solution providers are viewing the release of VMware View 4 as a game-changing disruptive technology that could revolutionize how IT infrastructure is deployed today.

That’s because the technology, announced this week by VMware, delivers a virtualized PC over IP to the client side, simplifying IT management and disaster recovery in addition to significantly reducing costs. Plus, it looks to be highly profitable for solution providers to offer it to their end customers.

It’s technology that Envision Technology Advisors’ customers have been waiting for. Todd Knapp, CEO and founder of the Providence, R.I.-based solution provider, says that he has had orders backlogged for the technology.

"It’s a revolutionary protocol," he says. "It’s one of the most coordinated efforts that VMware has ever done."

Knapp says according to his estimates, if you subtract out the cost of hardware, Envision can save companies about $1,100 per year per PC by virtualizing them rather than providing individual local PCs. That’s because management is simplified. He points out that according to Gartner, only 14 percent of the cost of a desktop computer over a three-year lifecycle is the hardware. The rest is operational and can be significantly reduced if deployment is virtualized.

VMware View, previously known as VDI, provides a software implementation of Teradici’s PC-over IP protocol, delivering the PC desktop as a service on whatever hardware a user happens to be using—work PC, home PC or thin client.

The approach vastly simplifies IT management because desktops can be updated with patches, new applications and new operating systems all at once instead of one at a time.

In terms of disaster recovery, VMware View significantly simplifies and removes complexity from the equation as well, Knapp says. That’s because if a fire destroys your building, you can recovery the server files from your off-site storage facility in a few hours or days. But what about your workers and their PCs?

"In the event of an emergency, you send everyone home," says Knapp. "People log in, and they have the exact same desktop that they did 10 minutes before the fire."

Knapp says a VMware View deployment that he’s doing right now for a 20-seat real estate appraisal firm will cost them about $1,100 per month. He says they need that level of disaster recovery in order to be approved to do business with big financial firms such as Citizen’s Bank.

Patrick Harr, vice president of marketing for the enterprise desktop at VMware, points out that the approach enables employee-owned IT in a way that hadn’t been previously possible.

"From a corporate standpoint you can deliver a hosted virtual machine on top of any new PC," he says, enabling employee-owned PCs.

"We are seeing a very strong momentum to moving to a thin-client computing model," Harr says. "This gets to the heart of how IT wants to reduce overall management costs. On the typical PC, for every dollar you spend on capex, you spend another three on maintenance."

Harr says for every $1 spent on desktop virtualization there’s about $10 in drag effect for the channel in terms of hardware and new services that are offered.

Rob Enderle, principal analyst with the Enderle Group, believes that client-side IT is evolving.

"We are drifting steadily toward a thin-client model and are in transition," he says. "It may take us a decade to get there, and it would be good to think of [VMware View 4] as a transition step."

VMware’s View 4 announcement came in conjunction with announcements that the technology will be embraced by a few large solution providers, including ACS and Compucom. ACS currently manages over 500,000 desktops, and Compucom manages 3.5 million desktops.

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com