Feeds

Project Horizon: VMware's plan to restitch the desktop

Your cloud identity

Boost IT visibility and business value

Project Horizon

One of the things that VMware was expected to launch today at the VMworld virtualization and cloud extravaganza this week was a bare-metal hypervisor for PCs. But as El Reg already told you in July, that isn't going to happen. At least not with the VMware View 4.5 released today. And maybe never.

"The desktop is being pulled apart and into the cloud," explains Mallempati. By which he means that end user computing is bigger than any particular type of desktop, notebook, netbook, smartphone, or handheld device or any one operating system. End users have a multitude of devices, but they still want to access their applications and data from them, and they want to do work even when they are not connected to the Internet and tunneling back into the corporate network.

And that means the virtual desktop infrastructure that VMware has been championing is too hairy to be combed over with a new release of VMware View sporting a bare-metal PC hypervisor - and one very likely with a limited hardware compatibility list, like the XenClient bare-metal PC hypervisor announced last week by rival Citrix Systems.

What customers want, says Mallempati, is a "consumer cloud experience" across all their devices and applications that maintains corporate security and service level agreements, no matter how you flit across public and private infrastructure. That, in a nutshell, is what Project Horizon is all about. And it is probably the best reason yet for why Red Hat should buy Novell or at least its security and identity management products.

Project Horizon is a set of software that will establish your "cloud identity" for accessing applications running on PCs, being streamed down from corporate servers, or running in SaaS-mode on somebody else's infrastructure, like Salesforce.com. The way the application and its related data gets provisioned for the user will therefore change as the end user's device changes. Project Horizon, says Mallempati, will have a self-service portal for applications and a single-sign on for those applications, regardless of where they are running.

While VMware won't admit this, the software will no doubt make heavy use of VMware View VDI and ThinApp application streaming, and will very likely come about as the merging of these two projects with some cloudy access management thrown in. What VMware has said is that ThinApp Factory will automate the packaging and updating of native applications, which is how you know VMware's ThinApp is involved. It is also very likely that the Zimbra email and collaboration software that VMware acquired from Yahoo will play a part as well.

Hodge-podging for desktop virtualization is not just vogue right now, it is the only way to cope with the problem because of the diversity of end user devices and needs. Citrix has thrown everything including the kitchen sink into its XenDesktop virtualization tools, which now include a bare-metal hypervisor (albeit for a ridiculously small number of Intel-based PCs); a secure, encrypted, and remotely nukable encrypted directory for running applications on contractor and user PCs; VDI streaming over corporate networks; and the traditional application streaming that has given Citrix purpose for the past decade and a half.

Other than these general capabilities, VMware is not saying much else about Project Horizon. VMware will not say how it will be productized – will it be a feature of View or ThinApp, or a separate access control and provisioning program that spans the? - but it has confirmed to El Reg that whatever it is, it will ship sometime in 2011. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
Oracle reveals 32-core, 10 BEEELLION-transistor SPARC M7
New chip scales to 1024 cores, 8192 threads 64 TB RAM, at speeds over 3.6GHz
Docker kicks KVM's butt in IBM tests
Big Blue finds containers are speedy, but may not have much room to improve
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
Gartner's Special Report: Should you believe the hype?
Enough hot air to carry a balloon to the Moon
Flash could be CHEAPER than SAS DISK? Come off it, NetApp
Stats analysis reckons we'll hit that point in just three years
Dell The Man shrieks: 'We've got a Bitcoin order, we've got a Bitcoin order'
$50k of PowerEdge servers? That'll be 85 coins in digi-dosh
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.