Seven of the biggest desktop virtualization stories in 2012

Desktop virtualization saw its fair share of acquisitions, eyebrow-raisers, licensing controversies, and new products in 2012

Server virtualization has become so mainstream that I feel confident nearly every single organization has at least one server running some type of hypervisor platform in their data center today. But for some reason, the virtual desktop hasn't caught on in the same way as its bigger sibling -- at least not in corporate America.

For the past few years we've been told this could be the year of VDI. While that hasn't happened yet, we did see a lot of events in 2012 that put VDI and desktop virtualization on the map. Here are seven of the biggest desktop virtualization stories of the last year.

[ Also on InfoWorld: Seven of the biggest server virtualization news stories in 2012 | How can virtualization managers implement a chargeback solution | Track the latest trends in virtualization in InfoWorld's Virtualization Report newsletter. ]

1. No shortage of key acquisition news

In 2012 there were four key acquisitions announced in the desktop virtualization market.

In April, Dell made a lot of noise when it acquired Wyse. The move gave Dell an advantage in the VDI hardware market because it brought on board the highly respected Wyse thin client and zero client devices that are compatible with many different virtual desktop software providers. The acquisition vaulted Dell alongside one of its biggest competitors in this segment of the market: Hewlett-Packard.

In May, while at the Citrix Synergy show in San Francisco, Citrix rocked the desktop virtualization market by announcing it had acquired one-time competitor Virtual Computer, giving Citrix an additional advantage in the client hypervisor market. Citrix said it would integrate Virtual Computer's NxTop technologies into the newly announced Citrix XenClient Enterprise Edition. Virtual Computer focused on Xen-based client hypervisor technology, so the acquisition seemed a natural fit. Citrix was already an investor in the company, oddly enough.

Not to be outdone, VMware in May announced it had acquired Wanova, adding a significant piece of technology to VMware's end-user computing (EUC) portfolio. Wanova's flagship product, Mirage, centralizes image management by using a layering technology. This technology would be incorporated into VMware View, allowing VMware to more easily compete with Citrix in the desktop market. The other interesting detail about this acquisition is that Wanova's technology also works within the physical endpoint device, giving VMware the opportunity (or option) to manage either a virtual desktop or a physical machine.

In July, Dell came back for a second round of desktop virtualization news and announced it had acquired Quest Software. The only question was what would become of the Quest vWorkspace product. With Wyse devices firmly in hand and vWorkspace now added to its arsenal, Dell has a fairly unique opportunity to offer a full VDI solution stack. However, the company still seems intent on making VMware View and Citrix XenDesktop its key focal point with VDI sales.

2. Pano Logic closes shop and sneaks off into the night

In October. Pano Logic, virtual desktop infrastructure vendor and creator of the infamous tiny chrome zero-client device, closed up shop without so much as a peep to anyone -- including its customers and evidently some of its employees.

Startup companies like Pano Logic go out of business all the time. It happens. But things seemed to be going in the right direction for the company, and it had showed signs of customer success only days before suddenly closing its doors. Beyond that, it was the way in which the company closed that helped make this a top news item: The company disappeared off the face of the planet in the middle of the night without any explanation.

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