VMware unveils new cloud, virtualization products designed to build growing synergy between cloud and VDI benefits

Looking to drive another nail in the coffin of the desktop PC, VMware Inc. has announced several new products at VMworld to advance cloud computing and virtualization.

A global leader in virtualization and cloud infrastructure, VWware unveiled several new products and cloud-based services today at the Las Vegas convention, all aimed to “help organizations break free from device-centric legacy desktop models and accelerate their journey to a new way to work in the post-PC era.”

The key announcement was the upcoming release of VMware View 5, and enhancements to VMware Horizon. [Disclosure: VMware is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Available in a few weeks, VMware View 5 promises to simplify IT manageability and control, while providing a high fidelity desktop virtualization experience. Users can expect to realize protocol enhancements that will provide as much as 75 percent bandwidth improvement over LAN and WAN connections; advanced support of 3D graphics; scalable unified communications integration for voice and video media services; and virtual desktop personalization with integrated persona management.

“As our customers begin to embrace this shift to the post-PC era, we offer a simple way to deliver a better Windows-based desktop-as-a-service that empowers organizations to do more with what they already have,” says Christopher Young, vice president and general manager of end-user computing at VMware. “At the same time, we are investing in expertise and delivering the open products needed to accelerate the journey to a new way to work beyond the Windows desktop. This combination of empowered users and flexible IT as a service, enables a new working style that leads to a more connected enterprise.”

VMware’s vision is to deliver a more user-centric, IT-as-a-service experience for the connected enterprise. In this new model, enterprises leverage hybrid cloud resources, while maintaining a managed, secure environment, and providing new ways for employees to collaborate across applications and data from any device, where and when a user needs it.

Enhancements to VMware Horizon extend the benefits of cloud-based application management to virtualized Windows applications and connected mobile workspaces.

During the opening keynote address yesterday at VMworld, VMware CEO Paul Martiz said that IDC research now shows that more servers running on virtual than physical server environments. What’s more, a new server virtual machine is created every 6 seconds, more than the pace of live births in US, said Maritz.

Maritz also alluding to the post-relational database (RDB) era, which follows fast on the post-PC era. He said that the new requirements and architectures of the cloud and mobile trend lines mean that data stuck in RDBs won’t bee able to keep up. A new layer is needed, and he pointed to VMware’s Cloud Foundry, with open source licensing, as the new best option. Furthermore, Foundry’s open framework will be portable across most clouds, he said.

Martitz also announced vSphere Essentials, data center appliance in a box, aimed at SMBs.

Maritz painted a vision of post-PC and post-RDB worlds, with cloud and mobile as key drivers. VMware clearly has it’s sights set on being the de facto standard infrastructure — the picks and shovels — that enable this new architecture.

Other product announcements

ut there are plenty of other product announcements coming from VMware today as well. Here is a run-down on other releases or enhancements:

  • Leveraging the application virtualization capabilities of VMware ThinApp, VMware Horizon Application Manager will now offer a centralized console to help organizations manage access, deployment and updates to virtual Windows applications regardless of the type of device or the underlying operating system. These new capabilities will be available in beta by the end of the year.
  • Based on the VMware Mobile Virtualization Platform (MVP) technology previewed earlier this year, VMware Horizon Mobile will offer new features that establish and securely manage an employee’s connected mobile workspace in isolation from their personal mobile environment. This will enable an employee to choose a single Android device for both personal and work use.
  • Future releases of VMware Horizon will marry the management of existing Windows applications via application virtualization and publishing technologies from Citrix, Microsoft and VMware, with the management of mobile and cloud-based applications. In addition, VMware Horizon will enable the secure delivery of cloud-based, personal and enterprise data resources.

VMware also previewed two new end-user computing technologies – code named Projects AppBlast and Octopus – that advance the company’s vision for enabling universal application and data delivery:

  • Project AppBlast will provide the universal delivery of any application — including Windows-based applications — to any device supporting HTML5. This will enable instant remote access to applications.
  • Project Octopus will leverage data sync technology from VMware Zimbra and Mozy to enable enterprise-grade collaboration and information/data sharing. Project Octopus will also offer easy integration with VMware Horizon, VMware View and Project AppBlast to create a secure enterprise cloud service.

And as discussed above, available in the coming weeks, VMware View 5 is a family of products, including:

  • VMware View 5, Enterprise Edition: includes VMware vSphere 5 for desktops, VMware vCenter Server 5 and VMware View Manager 5, a flexible desktop management server enabling IT administrators to quickly provision and tightly control user access. VMware View 5 Enterprise Edition is priced at $150 per concurrent connection.
  • VMware View 5, Premier Edition: includes VMware vSphere 5 for desktops, VMware vCenter Server 5, VMware View Manager 5, View Client with Local Mode, VMware ThinApp 4.6, VMware View Composer and VMware vShield Endpoint to enable integration of offline capabilities, image management optimization, application virtualization and centralized anti-virus protection with virtual desktop delivery and management. VMwareView 5 Premier Edition is priced at $250 per concurrent connection.

Fastest thin client

In other VMworld news, Wyse Technology is introducing its fastest thin clients ever, the Wyse Z90D7 and Z90DW, are now shipping.

Wyse also introduced two new Linux-based members of its Z class family – the Wyse Z50S and Wyse Z50D. The Wyse Z50 is the high performance thin client family based on Wyse Enhanced SUSE Linux Enterprise. It is the industry’s only enterprise-quality Linux operating system, which Wyse execs say combines the security, flexibility, and market-leading usability of SUSE Linux Enterprise from Novell, with Wyse’s thin computing optimizations in management and user experience.

The heart of the Wyse Z class thin clients is a new engine, where all the major system elements – CPU cores, vector engines, and a unified video decoder for HD decoding tasks – live on the same piece of silicon. This design concept eliminates one of the fundamental constraints that limit performance.

These units also include the first SuperSpeed USB 3.0 connectivity in a thin client, which enables the newest peripherals and speeds up to 10 times faster than USB 2.0. Customers benefit from having more display options than ever before including DisplayPort and DVI.

HP has delivered a big presence at VMworld, including early show announcements in virtualization support infrastructure. But HP has also announced enhancements to its HP FlexNetwork architecture.

HP FlexNetwork is part of the HP VirtualSystem suite, and enables organizations to flatten their networks from 3-tier to 2- or 1-tier. This should aid with performance, increase throughput, and lower network latency.

HP officials say the new FlexNetwork products deliver a reduction of up to 50 percent of the cost, and 85 percent of the complexity of 3-tier architectures. [Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

This should come as good news for organizations that have multi-tier systems architectures, and are struggling to implement a cloud computing environment with ease and simplicity.

“Organizations with a proprietary multi-tier network infrastructure create lock in that drives up cost and management complexity. As a result, implementing new applications and services is difficult and slow, reducing overall productivity,” an HP spokesman says.

HP has taken a number of steps to increase the delivery of applications and services through virtualization with the new enhancements to HP FlexNetwork. These include server connectivity, switching, management, and security.

In making the announcement, HP officials were quick to discuss the changes that virtualization makes to data center traffic patterns, and how the enhancements to FlexNetwork are addressing that.

Server traffic

“According to Gartner research, by 2014, network planners should expect more than 80 percent of traffic in the data center’s local-area network (LAN) to be between servers,” the HP spokesperson says. “However, to improve business agility, enterprises rely on virtual machine mobility, which can burst data rates up to 9 gigabits per second and significantly slow data transfer between servers.”

HP’s product response is HP FlexFabric solution for the data center, which includes HP Virtual Connect, and the HP 5800 and HP 12500 series switches. The company is aiming to eliminate unnecessary network layers and costly bottlenecks with a 1-tier network fabric approach. It provides wire-once direct connections to thousands of virtual, physical and storage components.

HP also announced the release – or pending release – of:

  • The new HP 5830 top-of-rack switch series, which delivers high-density server access connectivity, as well as flexible application and storage deployment. Powered by the HP Intelligent Resilient Framework (IRF), the HP 5830 top-of-rack 48 port switch is available now starting at $11,990.
  • HP Virtual Connect as first wire-once technology that simplifies the job of implementing a cloud computing environment by eliminating 95 percent of network cables and reducing cost by up to 65 percent.Introduced in 2007, Virtual Connect recently passed the 5-million-port milestone and accounts for 16.2 percent of all 10Gb ports shipped worldwide, according to company officials. New Virtual Connect v3.3 firmware upgrade provides customers with greater flexibility and capacity – and can support more than a thousand VLANs per server (eight times more than the previous version). It also holds promise for six times greater network capacity per server network interface card (NIC). Virtual Connect v3.30 firmware will be available for download in September 2011.
  • HP Intelligent Management Center (IMC 5.1) is the industry’s first single pane-of-glass network management platform. It manages both virtual and physical environments across heterogenous networks; and it automatically discovers VMs and switches, and identifies their relationship to the physical network, enabling clients to simplify administration and gain control of their assets. HP Intelligent Management Center 5.1 is expected to be available fall 2011 with a list price of $6,995.
  • HP TippingPoint and VMware are co-developing next-generation security solutions. The aim is to deliver pervasive security in the cloud with unified management and automated scanning for identifying and blocking potential threats. HP TippingPoint Intrusion Prevention System (IPS), with Controller+Firewall solution, is available starting at $40,000.

(BriefingsDirect contributor David Weldon added research and reporting to this post.)

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About Dana Gardner

Dana Gardner is president and principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, an enterprise IT analysis, market research, and consulting firm. Gardner, a leading identifier of software and cloud productivity trends and new IT business growth opportunities, honed his skills and refined his insights as an industry analyst, pundit, and news editor covering the emerging software development and enterprise infrastructure arenas for the last 18 years. Gardner tracks and analyzes a critical set of enterprise software technologies and business development issues: Cloud computing, SOA, business process management, business intelligence, next-generation data centers, and application lifecycle optimization. His specific interests include Enterprise 2.0 and social media, cloud standards and security, as well as integrated marketing technologies and techniques. Gardner is a former senior analyst at Yankee Group and Aberdeen Group, and a former editor-at-large and founding online news editor at InfoWorld. He is a former news editor at IDG News Service, Digital News & Review, and Design News.
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