VMware outlines plans for virtual desktops

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VMware outlines plans for virtual desktops

Analysts predict fierce competition.

VMware has been outlining its strategy for the virtual desktop market, and claimed that the time is right for the sector to take off.

Speaking at VMworld 2009, Patrick Harr, vice president of enterprise desktop marketing at VMware, said that the company already has more than 7,000 customers using its View virtual desktop system for more than a million users.

"We believe we can bring the same skills on the server to the PC," he said. "Whereas currently a single administrator can support about 50 desktops using virtualisation, we believe we can move that to 500 or even 1,000."

Moving to a virtual system would also cut the costs of administering a desktop, which the company estimates at about US$5,000 ($5,958) a year, by up to half.

The total cost of ownership argument would be a powerful force for change, according to Harr, but there are other drivers, most noticeably Windows 7.

"We are at a fundamental sea change with the Windows 7 launch," he said. " Customers have bypassed Vista and now they've held off long enough and it's time to upgrade. They can move to virtual desktops without the need to upgrade their hardware."

Citrix is the leader in the virtual desktop market, but analysts warned that VMware's push could spell serious competition.

Tim Stammers, a senior analyst at Ovum, suggested that it is Citrix's market to lose because it is so big in thin clients.

"What VMware and Citrix are selling now is very different from thin client. Each end user gets access to a personal machine running inside the datacentre," he said.

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