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VMware pitches virtual office desktops 101

Love-taps Sun's thin clients

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VMware is trying to sweeten its virtual office desktop play by selling some hands-on tutelage for the technology.

The vendor figures more companies should be eager to roll out virtual desktops — but alas, that pioneering spirit is often trumped by concerns about the complexity and cost of implementation, what to do about OS licensing, and so on. And where — oh where, can a best practices guide for this emerging technology be found?

Well, VMware's senior director of Enterprise Desktop software Jerry Chen is glad we lobbed that softball his way. It just so happens today that the company begins selling some onsite training services that cover the very thing.

VMware is also announcing an integrated desktop package for wide area networks (WANs) using VDI and Sun Microsystems' Sun Ray software tied to thin clients. We'll tackle that in a second.

Services, please

With the new VMware Desktop Infrastructure Jumpstart service, a certified VMware professional shows up at the office to train up to five staff members in setting up a VMware environment. Chen explained the service is meant as a quick two day pilot program for an office with about 10-25 desktops. It covers your basic needs on deployment and any specific considerations for the office. The quick in-and-out virtualization tutelage has a similar pace to the:

Application Virtualization Jumpstart service, which offers customers and parters some prompt training in streaming applications running in the data center to the desktops at the office.

For bigger companies or fancier setups, VMware sells a mouthful of a service plan called Plan and Design for VMware Virtual Desktop Infrastructure and Application Virtualization. It begins with an assessment of a customer's hardware and objectives. Then VMware Professional Services builds a blueprint for the virtual desktop and application virtualization plan, and writes up some documents to help manage the environment on an on-going basis.

Sun Ray, VMI, and thin clients

VMware has teamed with Sun to make VMware's VDI work with Sun Ray Server software and accompanying thin clients. Chen said VMware is partial to Sun's WAN technology using the home-cooked Appliance Link Protocol (APL) for speedy delivery of virtual desktop spaces.

According to Chen, although ALP outperforms competing protocols, VMware will still go to market with other system vendors too — although with each, a little differently.

As a part of the agreement, Sun will be providing support for the joint solution.

VMware is also introducing a certification program for thin clients. A list of certified thin client devices is available at VMware's compatibility guide site.

It was nice of VMware to time these announcements during the same week as Citrix's partner conference in Houston.®

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