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12/4/2008
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VMware Resolves Desktop Virtualization Performance Issues

VMware View 3 addresses key pitfalls that have slowed virtualization on the desktop.

VMware this week announced its VMware View 3 initiative for the large-scale launching of virtualized desktops in the enterprise, an expansion of its former Virtual Desktop Infrastructure product. In View 3, it's trying to solve several nettlesome issues that have slowed virtualization on the desktop.

Virtualizing desktops on a large scale contains several hidden issues -- how do you efficiently mass produce desktops from stored software files and still tailor them to different groups around the company? If you try to store each one as a set of files, you will increase costs through the need for more storage.

How do you get that desktop to function with the speed and ease with which users are accustomed? Virtualized desktop application responses and content have to be sent down the wire from a central server after a request from a user. And how do you serve the end users their virtualized desktops when they disconnect from the network?

VMware previously had a broad-stroke, somewhat simplistic answer to these questions. VMware View 3 is a more sophisticated offering, which includes Virtual Desktop Infrastructure but contains several additions that address key pitfalls.

Also, VMware View 3 isn't anything like the one-at-a-time desktop virtualization represented by VMware Workstation or Microsoft Virtual PC. View 3 desktop virtualization is a server-based hypervisor, like VMware's ESX or ESXi, that's used to generate virtualized desktops. It runs directly on the hardware, just as ESX does, not under an operating system. Variations of desktops are spawned from a base image that gets adjusted to accommodate the requirements of various user groups. The cloning component of View 3 is View Composer.

VMware is offering virtual printing as part of View 3, giving desktops the ability to print locally, even though, when spawned on a central server, the desktop has no knowledge of which printer is its local unit. Raj Mallenpati, group product manager for desktop products, said no local printer driver needs to be installed on View 3 virtual desktops because they can use a universal printer driver, regardless of whatever the local printer may be.

Multimedia Redirection is also included in View 3, which allows the virtualization server to recognize that a multimedia stream needs to be processed and to reroute the processing to the client machine for optimum performance. Multimedia, including complex graphics, audio, and video, in the past has performed poorly on virtual desktops because all processing was done on the server rather than shared with the client.

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