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VMware, Google, team up to target corporate Chrome OS adopters

Horizon View's HTML5 access will pipe legacy apps and OSes into Google-land

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VMware and Google have announced an “expanded relationship” targeting organisations using or considering Chrome OS.

The deal boils down to the fact that VMware offers an HTML5 client, dubbed Blast, for its Horizon View desktop virtualisation (VDI) product. Horizon View can deliver virtualised apps and whole desktops to devices running a dedicated client, or to HTML5-enabled browsers.

Chrome's been a possible target for ages, but Asanga Wanigatunga, VMware's end-user computing marketing chap in Australia, told The Reg that VMware has tuned Horizon View to do the business in Chrome OS by “doing the quality assurance cycles” to make sure the two play nicely together. But there hasn't been a lot of heavy lifting to make this happen.

So what's the deal really about? Enterprise adoption of Chrome OS, that's what. Google knows that enterprises like the look of Chromebooks and Chromeboxes because they are cheap to buy, look like they'll be cheap to run, and get them to the cloud in a hurry. But enterprises have oodles of legacy software they can't just abandon. Lots of it runs on Windows XP. If Chrome OS is to excite business, it needs a story about making those legacy applications available. And anything Google can do to stop people upgrading to Windows 7 or 8 is welcome 'round Mountain View way. VMware doesn't care what end-users run so long as it can virtualise it.

Google teaming up with VMware therefore makes Chrome OS more attractive because it means those organisations that already have VMware VDI infrastructure now have an easier way to pipe those legacy apps into a shiny new Chromebook, or just into Chrome. Or the myriad other devices Horizon View can target.

VMware promises it will bundle everything up so that on-premises users or its partners can create apps-on-Chrome-as-a-service rigs and its desktop-as-a-service stack will also be able to target Chrome. Virtzilla gains a new idea to sell to its current customers and a reason to talk Horizon View with Chrome OS adopters. Google gets a better enterprise story.

There's one small wrinkle here: Google has a remote desktop tool available for Chrome that could conceivably be a decent target for piping in a virtualised OS instance. That Google has chosen to work with VMware on VDI is probably an eggs-in-multiple-baskets play, but might also bespeak the Chocolate Factory's reluctance to develop that tool for duty beyond its current role as a nice-to-have remote access offering. ®

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