VMware Ships Desktop Virtualization Broker

The 'connection broker' for server-based virtual desktops is finally out of beta

January 31, 2008

2 Min Read
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VMware is shipping a connection broker for server-based virtual desktops, in a move that's expected to help consolidate the growth of desktop virtualization in general.

The VMware Virtual Desktop Manager 2 (VDM), available now, has been in beta for several months. It completes VMware's Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), by providing the management needed to authenticate (via Active Directory) and establish user connections to virtual desktops created with ESX Server and VirtualCenter.

Without VDM, the management element of ESX Server, called VirtualCenter, can't associate virtual machines with specific users. Up to now, many VMware customers have gotten around this with a range of third-party connection brokers for virtual desktops based on server software like ESX. Suppliers in this category include Citrix (via its XenDesktop product), ClearCube, Leostream, Provision Networks, and the U.K.'s Zeus Technology.

One analyst thinks VMware's release will stifle some of the market variety in brokers, as VMware, Citrix, and eventually Microsoft fill in a blank formerly left open for startups.

"VMware's release of VDM signals increasing consolidation," says Michael Rose of IDC. "The connection-brokering market used to be highly competitive, but now VMware has a product and that's really going to limit which companies can compete in this space."One early adopter exemplifies this trend -- Steve Beaver, systems administrator at Florida Hospital, a health care facilities network headquartered in Orlando, Fla. His team had started to look at a third-party broker after installing VMware ESX, but they decided to forgo it when VMware offered VDM in beta for a proof-of-concept project at the hospital. "We couldn't get the third-party connection broker up as quickly," he recalls. "Then when the VMware beta became available, we went with that." It simply made sense to take the broker from the hospital's virtualization supplier.

Beaver isn't using VDM in production yet. But if the trial proves out, the hospital will consider using it to manage 25 to 50 virtual desktop connections to medical transcribers throughout its network.

VDM 2 is sold in two bundles. One, the VMware VDI Starter Edition, contains VMware ESX Server 3.5 and VirtualCenter 2.5 with VDM. It supports 10 virtual desktops at a list price of $1,500. A second VMware VDI Bundle 100 Pack offers the same elements configured for 100 virtual desktops and costs $15,000. Additional licenses are available in increments of 10 at about $150 per concurrent user.

VMware also offers "a la carte" pricing for VDM 2 for existing VMware customers at $50 per concurrent user.

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  • Citrix Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CTXS)

  • ClearCube Technology Inc.

  • IDC

  • Provision Networks

  • VMware Inc. (NYSE: VMW)

  • Zeus Technology

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