VMware has announced an initiative which reduces the VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) footprint on a machine by 80%. The rebranding of VDI into something called “VMware View” conveys their goal. They want to produce a virtual machine that follows a user from place to place as they go about their day. And not just for servers, but for desktop users as well.
VMware would like to see the PC hardware in whatever form, such as a desktop, notebook or tablet PC, be a mere vehicle to host the work-load which takes place inside the now-mobile virtual machine. For example, as a user gets up from their cubicle and goes to the conference room, the PC in there could immediately serve host to the exact machine state they just left at their desk. The virtual machine has followed them with just a few keystrokes.
This technology employs a back-room host server which maintains the bulk of the virtual machine state. Only a small footprint remains on the individual desktop machine that can be rolled to a new location as the mobile features are employed. While this increases local network traffic, it also gives users the ability to do things not previously possible.
VMware has previously developed technology which allowed a running virtual machine in a server environment to be migrated from a physical host machine to another one without shutting down or losing any data. This allowed network administrators to spin up and down machines as the loads on the virtual machines increase throughout the normal course of a business day.
This new extension adds to that base ability, and is directly addressing a new market for VMware. They are now targeting not server-based environments, but rather the massive untapped virtual desktop, or end-user machines in all large offices.
As an addendum: http://news.zdnet.co.uk/itmanagement/0,1000000308,39570769,00.htm
According to a ThinPrint statement, the technology can “achieve data compression of up to 98 percent [and] reduce administration overhead, allowing simplified deployment of virtual desktops”. Auto-detection of a local printer from the client is also included.