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VMware Extends View Virtual Desktop Clients to Mac, Linux

By Thor Olavsrud (Send Email)
Posted December 19, 2011


Aiming to make its View desktop virtualization client more flexible, VMware Monday released a "technology preview" of a client for the Apple OS X Lion operating system and announced forthcoming previews of clients for Linux and the Kindle Fire. It also released updates for the Android and iPad clients.

"More and more people want the freedom to choose the device that best fits their computing needs in school and into the workplace," said Pat Lee, director of end user clients at VMware. "With the new VMware (NYSE:VMW) View Clients, both IT and end users win with a complete, secure and easily accessible virtual desktop on the devices that best meet their needs."

View is a solution for delivering personalized virtual desktops as a managed service as part of a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) model. Desktop administrators can use it to virtualize the operating system, applications and user data and deliver them to end users, even if their computers don't have the horsepower to run the applications on their own. It allows organizations to centralize management of desktop infrastructure, giving IT greater control. For example, it allows IT departments to easily provision desktops, updates and patches with a few clicks of a mouse. At the same time it gives end users the freedom to access their desktop with a broad set of devices.

Until recently, View has been a Windows-centric technology. But VMware is now seeking to broaden its reach to help it fixed into environments that are becoming increasingly mixed. Not only are organizations increasingly supporting mixed desktop operating system environments, but end users also want to use a variety of other devices to perform their work, including an array of tablets and smartphones.

VMware points to the education sector as a prime example, where labs support both Mac and Windows desktops, and students are bringing their own tablets, laptops and PCs based on OS X, Windows and other platforms. VMware said its new View clients will give campus IT organizations the ability to better support these end users and ensure that students have ready access to their applications and a consistent learning experience across devices.

"Fifty-one percent of our faculty computers are Macs and just over 29 percent of our student population uses Macs," said Steve Swartz, chief information officer and AVP of Technology at Fitchburg State University in Massachusetts. "Having a Mac client running VMware View with PCoIP is critical to our ability to extend VDI to these users."

PC over IP (PCoIP) is a proprietary display compression protocol for connecting desktops over existing IP networks, developed by Teradici. The protocol compresses, encrypts and encodes the entire computing experience at the data center and transmits it 'pixels only' across the IP network to stateless PCoIP zero clients like View.

"We're very excited about this release," said Dale A. Starr, junior associate director of Technology Support & Service at Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. "We've recently started deploying Mac computers in a managed configuration. One of the sticking points that users are commonly running into is software that only runs on Windows. It will be a great benefit to have the PCoIP client for Mac."

VMware said the Mac OS X Lion client was designed from the ground up for the Mac and with support for Lion's Full Screen mode, allowing Mac users to seamlessly switch between their Mac apps and their VMware View virtual desktop.

The company said the Linux client would be available in the coming weeks from the Ubuntu Software Center. Both the Mac and Linux clients are tightly integrated with VMware View 4.6 and 5.

VMware also said a View client for Android will soon be available in the Amazon App Store for Android, allowing Kindle Fire users to install it and access their virtual desktops.

Thor Olavsrud is a contributor to IT Business Edge Network news.

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