Both View and Mirage provide centralized desktop image management, with certain advantages, such as making it easier to deploy and install updates and patches. The key difference in these two technologies that needs to be understood, according to Davis, is that "VMware View images execute on servers in the data center and use a remote graphics protocol for the user interface, while Wanova Mirage images are transmitted and cached locally for runtime execution on the client systems," making Mirage well-suited for executing managed images on disconnected laptops, including MacBooks running VMware Fusion.
The acquisition therefore addresses two major limitations of VMware View: the inability to manage physical desktops and the problems caused by user-installed applications. Mirage fills both of these gaps. Since physical desktops aren't going anywhere for a while, this technology will allow VMware to provide more conservative IT shops a way to slowly ease their way into a VMware View VDI environment.
Wanova adds a proven set of new services to VMware's End User Computing, including snapshot-based backup with fast restore, remote break-fix, persona-preserving single image management, zero-touch OS migration, mass hardware refresh, and file-access portal for mobile devices -- for both virtual and physical endpoints.
"Wanova Mirage broadens our EUC offerings by bringing many of the operational and centralized management benefits associated with VMware View to laptops and physical systems," said Davis. "This means both native user experience through local execution and disconnected access."
According to Davis, "As Windows evolves into a runtime environment for Windows applications delivered from the cloud, the Wanova Mirage technology presents a great building block for delivering Windows Applications as a Service through VMware Horizon and enabling managed service provider offerings from the cloud."
Horizon, remember, is VMware's platform for the post-PC era, extending IT control to the cloud while providing a new way to work for end-users. The Horizon Application Manager unifies the management of any software-as-a-service (SaaS), Web, and Windows applications through a catalog, and securely delivers the applications to end-users on the device of their choice.
There are many trends in the industry pushing organizations to examine their current desktop policies: the end of Windows XP support, the constant refresh cycle of hardware and operating system upgrades, the need to support disaster recovery, work-from-home or remote employees, and the increased use of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiatives. VMware is but one company trying to efficiently and effectively address this challenge.
Until the acquisition of Wanova officially closes, VMware isn't giving away its secrets as to exactly how this new technology will fit within its existing EUC technology stack. You can bet this will be a hot topic of discussion at the company's upcoming VMworld user conference taking place at the end of August in San Francisco.
Some in the industry have begun questioning what this acquisition will mean for companies like Unidesk, which has competing technology with Wanova and partners with VMware. If they aren't gobbled up by a competitor like Citrix before VMworld, you can bet this will be another topic for discussion at the world's largest virtualization trade show event.
In the end, perhaps the biggest question will be whether VMware actually stitches View and Mirage together to form a cohesive solution. And if so, how long will it take? Combining applications developed in-house with those gained through acquisition is almost never an easy thing.
VMworld, here we come!