With Wanova Mirage, VMware won’t leave physical desktops in the dust

VMware's promise that Wanova Mirage will remain a standalone product for traditional PCs proves the company is not ignoring physical desktops.

VMware's confirmation that Wanova Mirage will remain a standalone product is good news for physical desktop management, as the company shows it's not solely a virtualization giant.

Since VMware acquired Wanova back in May, we've waited for an official sign regarding VMware's plans for the single image management product. While I expected the company to leave Mirage alone for the short term, I thought it might fold all the image management and layering-like capabilities into View. For VMware View, that would be a boon, but for the people running traditional PCs, it would be a great loss.

Wanova Mirage to stand alone, enhance View

Recently, Vittorio Viarengo, VMware's vice president of product marketing, posted in his blog that VMware is "indeed committed to use Wanova Mirage to provide our customers with single image management for physical desktops" and confirmed that the technology will also be used to enhance View.

Nobody can say anymore that VMware is ignoring the desktop.

Gabe Knuth, independent industry analyst and blogger

This is great news for existing Wanova customers, but it's also good news for those that view VMware as a company whose sole goal is to move people to the cloud or virtualization. By continuing to use Mirage as a standalone tool for physical desktops, the company has crept its way out of the data center and into physical desktop management in a way that's unique in the market. 

Back to View, though. In conversations with people at BriForum 2012, the most common thing I've heard is that they wish Wanova Mirage technology would replace View Composer. Remember, Mirage brings to the table single image management and the ability to merge user environments (including applications) on top of OS images in real time. Mirage also enables you to use low-cost storage while still getting the benefit of single instance, block-level deduplication.

Some of these features overlap with those of Composer, but the general feeling is that Mirage is more flexible and does a better job.

More on physical desktop management

VMware's Wanova acquisition extends VDI to physical desktops

Who will fill Wanova's single image management shoes?

VDI vendors beef up virtual desktop management

My thought, as I wrote in an earlier post, is that now the View suite can be more about desktop management than about virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) with the addition of the Wanova technology. It's about intelligently choosing the best computing experience for an end user and delivering the appropriate image. If, for instance, you're on a workstation-class machine in the office, your experience running Windows from that device would be better than that of VDI, so View can send the desktop directly to the workstation.

Conversely, if you're logging in from home or a mobile connection, perhaps the system can detect that the best overall experience would be to connect via VDI, in which case it would stream the exact same image to a virtual machine in the data center before connecting you.

The bottom line is actually the basis of the session I presented at BriForum called "Doing it without VDI: How to get VDI functionality without actually deploying a VDI solution." VMware is in a position (not coincidentally at the same time as Citrix) to provide some of the same efficiencies it's been talking about with VDI to the physical desktop. Granted, this is all happening while VMware is also placing almost all its bets on cloud (as the company should), but nobody can say anymore that VMware is ignoring the desktop.

Of course, this is all conjecture at this point. VMworld is coming at the end of August, so I expect to know much more then. After that, VMworld Europe and Citrix Synergy Europe are back to back in Barcelona, so we'll get to see more about Wanova and Virtual Computer as the companies lay out their plans for 2013. I love conference season!

This was first published in July 2012

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