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VMware CTO Details Future Of Virtualization

VMware CTO Stephen Herrod took the blinders off technologist's ability to see into the future Wednesday and conjured high speed, high quality presentations on virtual desktops. Speaking at the VMworld event in San Francisco, Herrod also foresaw virtual data centers being recovered from disaster before their users realized a disaster had occurred.

VMware is hard at work on adapting a protocol for delivering an enriched PC experience virtually over a standard network to its virtual desktop product set. PCoIP, as it is called, aims to square one of the bugaboos of desktop virtualization -- the degraded user experience, when it comes to viewing full motion video, intense multi-media presentations or high resolution graphics.

Without accelerated network links between virtualized servers and end users, the virtual desktop tends to spur user complaints, and put the brakes on implementation. A year ago, VMware announced it was licensing the PCoIP protocol from Teradici, a Burnaby, British Columbia, company founded in 2004. The protocol was designed for delivering rich user presentations over a TCIP/IP or other network. Herrod said that work continues and PCoIP-powered products will be available from VMware by the end of the year.

He also cited the possibility of implementing disaster recovery as a last minute exercise where the IT manager moves all servers from an existing facility to a backup site, even though it may be 120 miles away or more. Herrod was talking about what's become known as the possibility of long distance VMotion, where a running virtual machine is transferred off one physical server and onto another as much as 200 kilometers -- or 124 miles -- away.

Cisco Systems (NSDQ: CSCO) has demonstrated the capability with specialized switching gear, as has F5 Networks on its Big IP networking equipment, Herrod said. "For mainstream use, this is still a ways out," he conceded in a press conference after his keynote talk at VMworld. VMware will have to work with networking partners to put together a combination of software and equipment that would allow such long distance transfers.

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