Since April, there have been four major acquisitions in the desktop virtualization market. For many administrators, that means more choices and the reassurance that VDI offerings will continue to improve.
Dell, VMware and Citrix Systems made moves that will transform IT's options for thin clients, VDI software and infrastructure setup. Some of these acquisitions involved major vendors, and others featured smaller niche companies, but each changes the market when it comes to virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) feature sets, client virtualization offerings and physical desktop management.
With all the wheeling and dealing going on between desktop virtualization vendors, it's time to look at how these acquisitions will affect IT pros managing VDI environments.
April: Dell acquires Wyse for thin clients
It all started with Dell's acquisition of Wyse. The move gives Dell an edge in the VDI hardware market, experts said, particularly because Wyse thin clients and zero clients can integrate into any virtual desktop environment.
Acquisitions zero in on management
These acquisitions give a boost to virtual desktop management. Virtual Computer's NxTop provides Citrix with the endpoint device management features XenClient lacked. Dell could use Wyse Stratus as a device management platform.
Last, VMware's acquisition of Wanova shows that many IT pros still need to manage physical desktops as part of their VDI environment.
With this deal, Dell finally has its first in-house enterprise thin client offering to get on par with Hewlett-Packard. It also adds some intrigue to the competition between Cisco and Dell, because Cisco's thin client offerings are based on Wyse technology. Plus, Dell's existing partnership with DevonIT could go by the wayside if Dell discontinues use of the company's OEM clients.
May: Citrix buys XenClient competitor
In a move that some industry observers said eliminates client hypervisor competition for Citrix, the company bought Virtual Computer. Citrix invested in Virtual Computer in 2009 but then built its own Type 1 client hypervisor, XenClient. Still, experts said the startup's NxTop outshines Citrix's own product.
This deal signals to VDI managers that client-side virtualization is a valuable alternative to thin clients. Citrix will integrate NxTop technologies into the new XenClient Enterprise Edition. The company also has the resources to move NxTop into more hardware manufacturers and devices -- perhaps even mobile.
May: VMware gets physical with Wanova
VMware bought Wanova for its Mirage single image management technology, which it will integrate into VMware View. Mirage keeps a centralized copy of the user's desktop from every device they use, which can then be loaded into View in disaster recovery situations. For mobile workers, this will be especially useful for recovering stolen or failed PCs on a tablet, for instance.
This acquisition is an interesting one for the desktop virtualization market because it indicates that VMware isn't ignoring physical desktops. That's because Mirage works with any endpoint -- physical or virtual.
July: Dell makes big splash with Quest acquisition
Dell made another significant acquisition toward the end of summer. With Wyse firmly in its pocket, the company bought Quest Software to boost its caché as more than just a hardware giant. VDI shops can now look to Dell for all their needs: PowerEdge servers, EqualLogic storage, PowerConnect networking, Wyse thin clients and host-side virtual desktop software.
Some IT pros assumed this deal meant Dell would start selling Quest vWorkspace-based VDI stacks. Not so fast. The vendor partners with Citrix and VMware, so it will continue pointing customers to those companies for VDI software. Still, Dell's recent push in the desktop virtualization market makes it an appealing choice for virtual desktop hardware and software.