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Microsoft Closes Desktop Virtualization Deal

Microsoft has officially plugged a major gap in its budding virtualization portfolio with the closing of its acquisition of Israel based startup Kidaro.

Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

Kidaro is particularly well suited to mobile environments with large numbers of notebook PCs, where the ability to deploy and move PC images quickly and easily is a major advantage, said Shanen Boettcher, general manager of Windows product management.

In addition to virtual desktop deployment tools, Kidaro's technology portfolio includes data leak prevention and encryption, laptop management, and desktop disaster recovery tools. For companies that are undergoing a hardware refresh, Kidaro brings the ability to deploy virtual desktops via a USB drive.

Kidaro fits well within the Microsoft stack because its technology is based on Active Directory, and Microsoft plans to leverage that for better management of virtual machines, according to Boettcher. For example, when combined with Microsoft's Bitlocker encryption, Kidaro's technology allows for rapid recovery of data and re-deployment of new systems in lost laptop scenarios, Boettcher said.

There's an opportunity for Microsoft's channel partners to add value to desktop virtualization by customizing business rules to maintain separation and organization between the different virtualization layers, Boettcher said.

"Management becomes the killer app of this world, and Microsoft's management tools for physical environments also work with virtual environments. That's important, because people are going to have both for a period of time," Boettcher said.

Microsoft plans to deliver Kidaro's technology to the market through MDOP in the first half of next year, and the offering will be given the catchy new name of Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization, according to Boettcher.

Microsoft has invested over $400 million so far acquiring technologies to fill out the MDOP portfolio, which includes application virtualization, inventory services, System Center desktop error monitoring, and group policy management. Microsoft has thus far sold around 6.5 million licenses, Boettcher said.

MDOP is part of Software Assurance, a volume licensing program that lets companies upgrade to new software that's released during the term of the contract with Microsoft, and to spread payments over a three-year period.

In April, Microsoft rolled out MDOP 2008, which added tools for debugging and troubleshooting unbootable PCs, as well as better tracking of error messages generated during application and operating system crashes.

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