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VMware will gain a step in the race to virtualize desktops by licensing Wyse Technology's enhancements to Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) protocol.
The enhancements make it possible to run multimedia presentations over RDP, such as voice combined with images, something that RDP can't do by itself at a rate that is acceptable to desktop users.
VMware is the market leader in server virtualization, but it is in a race with Citrix Systems, now that it owns XenSource, to virtualize end users. Citrix, as a close partner of Microsoft's, doesn't need third parties to improve its access to the desktop. It is able to use its proprietary ICA protocol, with direct support from Windows Server, for speeded-up delivery of user presentations. VMware already relies on protocol enhancements from Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard, and Teradici as well as Wyse as part of its virtual desktop offerings. The RDP enhancements licensed from Wyse deliver virtualized user presentations under Windows XP and Windows Vista, making use of the processing power on the desktop, said Wyse CTO Curt Schwebke.
The enhancements also allow virtual desktops to be displayed in multiple types of clients, from desktops and laptops to handheld devices. Part of VMware's approach to end user virtualization is to make the virtualized desktop highly mobile, able to follow the user wherever he goes, regardless of the device he wants to use.
End users "will be able to use multimedia applications in their virtual desktop with greater richness and impact, yet with lower overhead on the server," Schwebke said in Wyse's announcement of the licensing agreement.
Wyse's desktop protocol enhancements will be incorporated into a future release of VMware View, part of VMware's vClient initiative announced at its user group meeting in Las Vegas on Sept.16. VMware View is a set of products that allow a single presentation to clients from a variety of client-oriented protocols, such as Teradici's PC-over-IP as well as RDP, and to a variety of client devices. Its VMware View will be able to present client desktops to users of both Sun and Wyse thin clients.
Desktop virtualization has been slow to take off due to the difficulty in matching the end user's desktop experience through a virtual machine running on a central server. Quest Software's Provision Networks, VMware, Citrix and other vendors are trying to find the right blend of central server virtual machine control and fluid, powerful presentation on the client, with a variety of options available in the market.