VMware Buys Desktone For Cloud-Delivered Virtual Desktops

Desktone claims cost, multidevice advantages over enterprise-based virtual desktop infrastructure.

Charles Babcock

October 16, 2013

2 Min Read
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VMware has acquired Desktone, a pioneer in the field of supplying of desktops from multitenant cloud servers. VMware expects to employ Desktone in combination with its existing Horizon View desktop virtualization software to deliver a Windows desktop to any user, on any device, anywhere.

Sanjay Poonen, VMware's new general manager of end-user computing, announced the acquisition of the privately held company at VMworld Europe in Barcelona Tuesday. No purchase price was disclosed.

VMware has been trying to find a surer footing in its approach to managing virtual desktops while the market remains wide open. Citrix Systems enjoyed several advantages early on, but VMware steadily closed the gap in terms of delivering a quality end-user experience.

Earlier, VMware sought to capture end users with a wave of next generation applications, as it acquired Zimbra email, SlideRocket online slide production and Socialcast social networking. Unlike the PC market, the virtual desktop market appeared to resist the appearance of a killer app, and VMware turned around and sold the application companies as new CEO Pat Gelsinger arrived.

[ Critics have been ready to give up on VMware, but Don't Count VMware Out In Rough Seas. ]

Desktone developed its own approach to desktop virtualization built on a scalable, commodity architecture in the cloud that gave it a price advantage over enterprise data center systems. Information on its website says it typically charges $35-$40 per month per user, or 40% less than a typical enterprise installation, it claims. Also, because it's in the cloud, it is simpler for customers to establish and manage user accounts that then remain accessible wherever end users go. Accomplishing the same range and multidevice capabilities from the enterprise data center has proven both complex and pricey.

Desktone's existing customers include Dell, Fujitsu, NEC, Time Warner Cable, Dimension Data and Logicalis. Where VMware VDI has been built on $4,995 ESX servers, Desktone uses open source code on multitenant servers. It delivers Windows desktops over Microsoft's Remote Display Protocol and video or other multimedia over the PCoIP protocol.

Virtual desktops remain a tantalizing prize, with potentially millions of Windows users ready to sign up for the mobility and multiple device advantages. "The market is ripe to leverage cloud technologies to deliver alternative desktop management," said Poonen in a blog post on VMware's site Tuesday. If so, VMware is a little late in discovering that alternative and still struggling to sign up end users. Desktone just gave it a leg up on Citrix Systems and Microsoft, who are eager to do the same thing.

Desktone primarily delivers to end users displays of Windows applications running in a cloud data center. It can also deliver end-user applications themselves. It offers Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Linux desktops, as well as shared session applications. The firm was founded in 2007 in Boston and has been considered an innovator in the space.

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