Remotely access VMware virtual desktops with WSX and an HTML5 Web browser

The technology works with the latest Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and iPad iOS -- no plug-ins or clients needed

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It's only recently that WebSockets have become a finalized standard, and that's what VMware is using to do the bidirectional communication needed to stream content from the server.

WSX works best with the latest versions of Chrome 17, Firefox 10, and Safari 5 on Mac OS hosts. While a bit buggier, it also seems to work with Microsoft Internet Explorer 10 Preview. On the tablet side, it reportedly runs well with the Apple iPad running iOS 5+, and there has been some success reported with Google Chrome and Ice Cream Sandwich on Android devices.

As this technology is still experimental and in preview mode, VMware developers are still hard at work toward creating new enhancements to WSX. According to Hammond, some of his personal goals are to improve browser compatibility and to make it faster and easier to interact with the virtual machines with gestures (two-finger scrolling in place of a scroll wheel on tablets), gamepad controls, multitouch, and whatever else he and the other VMware developers can think up. On the other hand, VMware hasn't officially said anything about a future road map.

While WSX won't be replacing VMware's PCoIP anytime soon in a corporate environment, performance is said to be good enough right now to stream a 720P YouTube video inside a virtual machine and still see near-native quality and frame rates when accessed via Chrome or Firefox on a modern PC. That alone is pretty impressive at this stage.

Although still experimental, WSX is yet another piece of technology coming out of VMware that shows off the power of application delivery via the Web. It also gives a bit more insight as to the direction of where things are headed within the walls of VMware.

Isn't it cool that the Linux guys finally get something first from VMware before the Windows users? This announcement would have gotten them out of their seats with applause during a VMworld keynote session, to be sure.

This article, "Remotely access VMware virtual desktops with WSX and an HTML5 Web browser," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in virtualization and cloud computing at InfoWorld.com.

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