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VMware revs up performance on virtual desktops

VMware claims that it has lowered the overall cost of VDI. The company, however, did not cut the price of its licenses to do so.

One of the biggest barriers to the adoption of desktop virtualization has been cost, so with the latest release of VMware View, VMware tried to remove that obstacle. The company did, however, cut the price of its licenses to achieve this feat.

Instead, the company collaborated with OEM vendors including Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Network Appliance to get the cost of acquiring virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) down to the cost of traditional desktops. VDI with VMware View 4.0, released this week, now costs about $700 per user, VMware said.

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Another barrier to VDI adoption has been poor user experience. To address that problem, the company has licensed Teradici's PC-over-IP protocol (PCoIP), a remote display protocol that is adaptive to any network infrastructure and creates the "best case for any network condition," according to VMware vice president of enterprise desktop marketing Patrick Harr. A number of technology partners already support PCoIP.

PCoIP is similar to the new protocol that Citrix introduced along with XenDesktop v4.0 last month, called HDX. Chris Wolf, an analyst at Burton Group, a Midvale, Utah-based consulting firm, said clients who are early PCoIP beta testers have been extremely satisfied with the protocol's performance so far.

In addition to VMware PCoIP, VMware View 4 has tweaked its multimedia delivery for rich audio and video content and VMware View Direct, which maps from the virtual desktop to end user devices for locally attached peripherals through USB connections. View 4 also includes VMware View Printing, which lets users automatically discover, connect and print to locally attached printers without installing print drivers, and VMware View Unified Access, a single point of authentication for users to access VMware View environments, Windows Terminal Servers, blade PCs or remote physical PCs.

VMware View 4.0 will be available later this month in two versions. VMware View 4 Enterprise Edition includes VMware vSphere 4 for desktops and VMware View Manager 4 for $150 per concurrent connection. VMware View 4 Premier Edition includes VMware vSphere 4 for desktops, VMware View Manager 4, VMware ThinApp 4 and VMware View Composer for $250 per concurrent connection.

As of early November, VMware claimed to have 1.5 million VMware View licensed users, and in its most recent earning, desktops made up between 6% and 7% of the company's revenue, Harr said.

Let us know what you think about this story; email Bridget Botelho, News Writer.

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