VMware View 4.0 uses the PC-over-IP protocol, which "compresses, encrypts, and encodes the entire computing experience at the datacenterand transmits it 'pixels only' across a standard IP network to stateless PCoIP-enabled desktop devices," explains Teradici, which licensed PCoIP to VMware.
[ VMware View 3.0 was a case of "good news, bad news." | Some challenges of virtual desktop infrastructure have yet to be addressed by any vendor. See Paul Venezia's "Five things I need from VDI." | Dave Marshall brings you non-stop coverage of virtualization in Virtualization Report. ]
VMware officials say the technology will deliver great-looking desktops even in low-bandwidth scenarios.
"PCoIP is a server-centric protocol, meaning that we are doing the majority of the graphics rendering and processing on powerful servers," VMware's desktop team wrote in a recent blog post. "Compressed bitmaps or frames are transmitted to the remote client. This division of labor has some ideal properties for static content. First it's making use of the powerful processing capabilities of multi-core servers such as Intel's Nehalem to render the graphics. More importantly, by transmitting compressed bitmaps or frames, we can adjust the protocol in real time to account for the available bandwidth and latency of the communications channel."
For users on a WAN connection with low bandwidth and high latency, a "less crisp image is produced" at first, allowing for fast loading times. Then the image is sharpened into higher resolutions.
PC-over-IP offers excellent performance and graphics support, says Burton Group analyst Chris Wolf. One caveat is that PCoIP has trouble integrating with WAN accelerators such as Riverbed's appliance, but VMware is working on the issue with Riverbed, according to Wolf.
VMware View, which includes the vSphere server virtualization platform, will be generally available next week. The enterprise and premier editions are priced at $150 and $250 per concurrent connection, respectively.
Total upfront costs, including client devices, back-end storage and servers, are $600 to $800 per virtual desktop, says Raj Mallempati, director of desktop product marketing for VMware.
That's similar to the price of a typical PC, but virtual desktop implementations should extend the life of user devices and reduce management cost, Mallempati says. VMware says its new desktop virtualization software will allow "flexible on-demand provisioning of thousands of desktops and applications instantaneously"; feature the ability to support multiple operating systems' improved security; and enable management of thousands of desktops from a single, centralized administrative console.