VMware on Wednesday launched its View 5 desktop virtualization software to the general public and touted features that are aimed at further blurring the lines between virtual desktops and physical ones.
View 5's virtual desktops feature integration with unified communications products from Cisco, Avaya and Mitel, the result of VMware's partnerships with these companies. View 5 also comes with View Media Services, a set of features that includes 3D graphics support for Windows 7 Aero and Office 2010, as well as support for 3D applications that use DirectX and OpenGL.
"And because View Media Services for 3D graphics works with existing data center servers, there is no GPU required -- helping to save costs by eliminating the need for additional graphics cards," VMware said in a Wednesday blog post heralding View 5's arrival.
VMware has added client-side caching and other PCoIP optimization controls that cut bandwidth consumption by up to 75 percent and increase network user density on LAN and WAN connections. For mobile road warriors, View 5 automatically detects Wi-Fi and 3G connection issues and re-connects them within 30 seconds, obviating the need for user interaction, VMware said in the blog post.
Nick Bock, CEO and co-founder of Five Nines Technology Group, a Lincoln, Neb.-based solution provider, says the new features could allow VMware to expand its potential client base. "We've had healthcare and engineering customers in the past that need to view graphically intensive images, and you couldn't even talk about VDI with them," he said.
Keith Norbie, vice president and CTO at Nexus Information Systems, a Minnetonka, Minn.-based solution provider, says the PCoIP optimization aspect of View 5 brings VMware on par with Citrix in the virtual desktop space.
However, he believes the larger virtualization trend is the consumerization of desktop functionality. "You're starting to see some of the first wave of consumerization of the functionality of virtual desktops," Norbie said. "This is part of IT users' revolt against IT complexity."
Customers that purchase View 5 Premier Edition will get View Persona Management, a set of tools that allow administrators to centrally manage users' settings and files and adjust policies and access privileges, while monitoring performance and other settings. This feature cuts costs of virtual desktop deployments by allowing for the use of stateless desktops, according to VMware.
In View 5, VMware has gone back and fixed issues that had presented obstacles for customers of previous View releases. Now the market gets to decide whether View is ready to give Citrix XenDesktop a run for its money.
"We've done a lot of work to address entire list of customer concerns," VMware CEO Paul Maritz said in a keynote at VMworld earlier this month. "View 5 should work much better in high latency and low bandwidth environments. We also have clients available for other devices, and View can handle VoIP and unified communications."
View 5 Enterprise Edition is priced at $150 per concurrent connection and VMware View 5 Premier Edition is priced at $250 per concurrent connection.