May 19, 2010 - Matthijs Haverink
VMware View 4.5 Expected Features
Yesterday I had a presentation (not under NDA) from VMware about the improvements and features that we can expect with View 4.5 (no guarantees) and I was impressed as well as disappointed. Impressed by the small additions/improvements that together create a more mature and complete Desktop Virtualization solution. Disappointed about the fact that the feature that really drew my attention : Virtual Profiles (the RTOSoft acquisition) has some big disadvantages which gives me the feeling I still need a “real” Profile Virtualization solution.
It’s my personal guess, not mentioned by VMware, that View 4.5 will be released at VMworld 2010 San Fransisco in August 2010.
First thing: the client hypervisor. There’s been a lot of buzz about View 4.5 and the client hypervisor that would be in or out. It’s pretty clear that VMware won’t release its client hypervisor with View 4.5. I think it shows by the sales strategy they seem to choose as you can read in Brian Madden’s post. And its not that I’m falling for the sales blabla of VMware but I don’t really see the value of the client hypervisor for business needs at this moment. I see it being used in BYOPC concepts but especially for the Dutch market, where Bring Your Own PC concepts aren’t really common mainly because of legal/tax related issues, I find it hard to come up with a good use case.
Then Virtual Profiles: finally VMware starts completing the View product with features that are unbearable in a Desktop Virtualization scenario. With Virtual Profiles VMware offers a technique that “detaches” your Windows profile from the OS. It works nice but if I understand it correctly it is still very much based on the roaming profiles technology of Windows itself. And the biggest downside : since it depends so much on the profiling technique of Windows itself it needs different profiles for Windows XP (profile v1) and Windows Vista/7 (profile v2). So this won’t help you migrate from XP to Windows 7 since all user settings will be lost! And that is a real killer when you ask me… Desktop Virtualization projects are often combined with a Desktop OS upgrade and if this is the case you still need a third party product from a party like Immidio, AppSense, RES, Scense etc.
And the inflexibility between desktop Operating Systems isn’t the only downside. The Virtual Profiles solution is a VMware View only solution. So if you switch to a VMware View solution for 100% of your desktops it might be a good solution. But wake up; VDI is perfect in certain use cases but in the majority you will have local desktops and/or terminal servers in your environment too. What about them? How do you manage user profiles in those environments?
Well enough negativity; there are some pretty cool improvements that all together create a pretty mature solution:
– “Local Mode” : off-line VDI finally out of experimental phase. There is also a new role in this scenario: the Transfer Server.
– ThinApp 4.5 with Application Entitlement (assign applications to Desktop Pools; MSI only)
– Tiered Storage : define different datastores for different datatypes (replica’s, userdata etc.) <- great feature !
– Full Sysprep support
– Disposable Disk technology (ability to identify Temp/Swap data in your image and clean that data automatically).
– Snapshot support for Linked Clones (Floating Pool)
– Role Based Administration
– Kiosk Mode Desktop Pools (GUI suppression and device-based assignments)
– Native MacOS client
– Web Download Portal (for downloading the client software via the web)
– A good dashboard with more event logging for better troubleshooting
In general all the interfaces look better because of the use of Adobe Flex. Adobe Flex is the new standard for VMware management consoles. And yes: a standard also means that in the future we can expect seamless integration of different management consoles from View and vCenter for example!
All together I think VMware is making a big step with View 4.5 and it really starts to compete with the more mature Citrix XenDesktop solution!