VMware to Acquire Application Virtualizer Thinstall

VMware plans to integrate Thinstall's wares into desktop virtualization solutions

January 16, 2008

3 Min Read
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VMware has arranged to acquire Thinstall, an application virtualization software provider based in San Francisco. Terms were not disclosed, though VMware has made no requisite SEC statements, indicating that the value of this and other recent acquisitions has been less than $50 million apiece. Thinstall, founded in 1999, is reportedly self-funded.

Thinstall makes software that virtualizes applications, isolating them from the computer's operating system. Thinstall's product, typically sold for about $5,000 per server, saves software distribution hassles by enabling an application to run in its own encapsulated .exe file without any device drivers or contact with the user's file system.

VMware plans to sell and support Thinstall's software as is until VMware can integrate the company's technology into its own desktop virtualization solutions. "The Thinstall acquisition is VMware's attempt to further penetrate into virtualized client computing technologies," states analyst Michael Rose of IDC. "They already have product offerings in the desktop virtualization space through VDI, ACE, Workstation, and Fusion. Thinstall allows them to further expand their presence in this space."

Indeed, VMware's desktop suite is apt to be helped by another recent VMware acquisition, that of Dunes in September 2007, also bought for an undisclosed fee.

Dunes specializes in another aspect of desktop virtualization -- namely, brokering virtualization functions in conjunction with virtual servers. Dunes's product, aptly named Virtual Service Orchestrator, packs workflows, technology plugins, policy control, access rights, and a connection broker for use with VMware virtual desktop environments.Thinstall boasts 600 customers, including a slew of big names such as GE, the US Department of Defense, Qualcomm, Lucent, Northrop Grumman, Morgan Stanley, T-Systems, and Abbott Labs.

At least one purchaser, though, has foreboding about the VMware deal. "It sounds great for Thinstall, but as a customer I'm always concerned about things like product pricing going up," says Pierre Genest, senior systems analyst at the University of Alberta.

Genest, who had not heard the news of Thinstall's acquisition until Byte and Switch contacted him this morning, uses Thinstall software to streamline remote delivery of applications across the Canadian university. He says he's used Thinstall's software with VMware's products as well as those of two other Thinstall partners, Landesk and Citrix.

VMware stresses that a price change isn't in the immediate future for Thinstall's wares. Also, previously established Thinstall partnerships will continue and will be encouraged to expand.

"We think the market for desktop virtualization has been artificially stifled," asserts Ed Albanese, VMware senior desktop product manager. Competitors like Citrix and Microsoft, he maintains, have forced customers to buy specific servers and virtualization packages in order to run desktop virtualization. VMware wants to maintain and expand partnerships in order to open things up.VMware plans to hire nearly all of Thinstall's 20-person staff, but will close Thinstall's offices in San Francisco and move the group to VMware's offices in Palo Alto, Calif. Thinstall CEO Henrik Rosendahl will continue with VMware, but his title hasn't been determined.

Part of today's announcement also includes a reference to VMware's acquisition of assets from oddly named Foedus, a provider of consulting services on virtualization technologies. Based in Portsmouth, N.H., Foedus is likely to support VMware's efforts to peddle desktop virtualization. "The Foedus acquisition is designed to help VMware educate its channel on best practices and other sales engineering and marketing efforts in terms of virtualized client computing," says IDC's Michael Rose.Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Byte and Switch's editors directly, send us a message.

  • Citrix Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CTXS)

  • IDC

  • Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)

  • VMware Inc.

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