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Symantec Suite To Virtualize Windows End Users

Endpoint Virtualization Suite suite will supply a Windows desktop to end users within corporate walls, on the road, or at home.

Symantec Tuesday announced Endpoint Virtualization Suite, an expansion of its earlier virtualization products, which marks its full entry into the desktop virtualization market.

The suite aims to free the end user from being tied to a particular machine and give him a portable desktop workspace. Symantec, with its huge footprint in end user computing through its antivirus software, claims to have the right blend of controlled user access and virtual user flexibility. It's also producing software that works, initially, on top of VMware hypervisors. It eventually will work across different vendors' hypervisors, said Doug Coombs, director of product management.

The goal is not to compete with established virtualization vendors but to generate a virtualized end user "workspace" that's based on "standards that are hypervisor, operating system, and hardware platform agnostic," Coombs said in an interview.

In other words, Symantec will try to furnish the same desktop to a desktop PC, a mobile Linux-based netbook, and even a handheld device, such as a BlackBerry or smartphone. In its initial iteration, however, the Symantec suite will simply supply a Windows desktop to end users, whether inside the corporate walls, on the road, or at home, Coombs added.

"We want the virtual experience to be like the conventional desktop experience," said Brad Rowland, director of marketing.

Symantec assumes many enterprises will want to "crawl or walk, not run" to implement end user virtualization. It has mapped out a path where an enterprise can adopt Symantec Workspace Virtual or Symantec Workspace Streaming to get started.

Workspace Streaming is taking a Windows application on a central server and streaming its business logic down the wire to end users, where it runs on their machines. The end-user environment may be virtualized, or remain unvirtualized. Either way, IT staffs get the benefit of centralized application administration, Rowland said.

Workspace Streaming is based on Symantec's purchase of AppStream and nSuite last year in April and August, respectively. In effect, IT administrators can decide which applications they wish virtualized, then rely on standard Windows Installer MSI packages to send the applications to end-user machines. Workspace Streaming can also detect what hardware and network environment awaits the application at the other end of the wire.

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