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VMware rules the roost in server virtualization, and the advanced features coming in next month's View 5.1 release show that it is trying to take a bigger bite out of the desktop virtualization market.
VMware's View 5.1 release, details of which were first reported last week by CRN, includes several new features that address difficult technology issues organizations often encounter when rolling out virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) projects.
VMware partners are particularly intrigued by a new feature called View Storage Accelerator, which is designed to alleviate performance bottlenecks and cut storage costs in VDI environments. This feature is already part of vSphere, where it is known as Content Based Read Cache.
View Storage Accelerator caches common image blocks while reading View desktop images in order to keep storage load from spiking during periods of intense I/O activity, according to an internal VMware document viewed recently by CRN.
This is important because disk I/O is the number one make-or-break factor for the performance of View deployments, said Blaine Kahle, director of engineering at Five Nines Technology Group, a Lincoln, Neb.-based VMware partner.
"View Storage Accelerator has huge potential for VDI workload performance based on unofficial test results that I’ve seen," Kahle said.
View 5.1 also includes a technical preview of View Composer Array Integration (VCAI), a feature that uses the native cloning capabilities in storage arrays to offload storage operations. This improves the provisioning and management functions of View Composer, VMware's virtual image management tool, and lets customers leverage other storage options, according to the document.
VMware, which launched its vCenter Operations analytics tool for vSphere last March, is bringing it to View 5.1 in the form of a separate add-on purchase.
"vCenter Operations for View allows administrators to have broad insights into desktop performance, quickly pinpoint and troubleshoot issues, optimize resource utilization and proactively address potential issues," VMware says in the document.
View 5.1 extends VMware's View Persona Management feature to physical desktops, which preserves user settings across all Windows devices and speeds physical-to-virtual desktop migrations. View 5.1 also includes support for Radius two-factor authentication, expanded localization options, and desktop provisioning with pre-created Active Directory, according to the document.
VMware over the past couple of years has made View more of a priority, and the new functionality in View 5.1 serves as further evidence, said Rob Owens, vice president of equity research at Pacific Crest Securities, Portland, Ore.
"There has definitely been a change of tone," Owens said. "VMware is focusing more on computing beyond the PC, and they're talking more about developing technologies for getting apps and desktops onto a myriad of devices."
VMware could not be reached for comment on the new features in View 5.1.