Desktop and application virtualisation advances

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VMware is preparing a new release of its application virtualisation technology, adding the ability to remotely update virtual applications after deployment. The company also announced an update of its connection broker for virtual desktops.

VMware's ThinApp 4.0 is the next release of Thinstall, which the company acquired earlier this year.

It decouples the application from the underlying operating system, packaging it up into a single file that can be delivered via standard application deployment tools or simply copied to the target system.

Due for release later this month, ThinApp 4.0 adds Application Sync, a feature that enables administrators to manage updates to deployed applications, to ensure that all copies get patched, for example.

"Distributed versions can check the central copy of the application for changes, and pull down just those changes," explained Tommy Armstrong, VMware's senior product marketing manager in Europe.

ThinApp is a 'strategic' part of VMware's push into virtual desktops, according to Armstrong, as it make sit easier to provision virtual client machines with applications as required.

Another new feature of the tool is Application Link, which allows applications in separate ThinApp packages to communicate. For example, workers often embed an Excel spreadsheet inside a Word document. This is currently not possible if the applications are packaged separately.

Pricing for ThinApp 4.0 starts at US$5,000 for the ThinApp software plus licences for up to 50 endpoints.

Meanwhile VMware's Virtual Desktop Manager (VDM) 2.1 now supports re-direction of multimedia to give a better end user experience, the company said.

"Software in the virtual desktop machine recognises multimedia formats such as AVI, and instead of playing it, streams it to the VDM client on the user's system, where it is decoded locally," said Armstrong.

Thin client vendors such as Wyse and Igel have introduced similar technology to support multimedia on virtual machines.

In related news, Citrix last week introduced a new version of its Citrix Access Gateway with support for the firm's XenDesktop virtual desktop infrastructure. The SSL VPN appliance allows companies to deliver virtual desktops securely to thousands of end users, even those sited remotely from the datacentre, based on their identity.
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