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Updates, Refreshes for Several VMware Products

VMware has updated a number of important products in the last week; no major changes, but worth knowing about.

Most exciting from my point of view is the first VMware-guided release of the product formerly known as Thinstall, before the company was bought by VMware in January. ThinApp 4 plugs a hole in the VMware's product line, providing application virtualization. A virtualized application is encapsulated and isolated, making it unlikely to cause conflicts with other apps on a server or desktop.

There was a bit of cynicism over the name ThinApp when it was first announced, with some pundits wondering whether it was trying to capitalize on the recently-announced name for Citrix' app virtualization offering, XenApp, but it didn't amount to much in the blogosphere. ThinApp 4 will be available within a month, according to a VMware press release. It's not cheap, at $5,000 a pop, but that does include VMware Workstation, which is generally regarded as the best PC virtualization product out there, and 50 licenses.

At the end of May came the first refresh of VMark, VMware's benchmarking software. VMark exists to analyze the performance of apps running in virtual environments. VMark 1.1, which is free, includes a number of updates for 64-bit operating systems, including Windows Server 2003 64-bit, and Novell SLES (SUSE Linux Enterprise Server) 10 SP1.

VMark first came out about a year ago. One reason this update caught my eye is that we're preparing an article on performance benchmarking in virtual environments for our July/August issue. The article makes the point that although VMark is a good starting point to use, it's only the beginning of what you should be doing in the planning stages of your virtual infrastructure. The story also examines and explains the pitfalls of performance benchmarking, and how difficult it is to do.

The last announcement surrounds Virtual Desktop Manager 2.1, an update of the connection broker for its virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI). Desktop Manager does just what it says: it manages the connections between the backend VDI servers and remote users, helping them get connected and stay connected, as well as managed.

The main upgrade is to scalability; VMware says in a press release that admins can run "up to 5,000 concurrent connections per cluster of Virtual Desktop Manager servers and provides enterprises the ability to scale to tens of thousands of desktop connections through the use of multiple clusters." In addition, hundreds of desktops can be assigned a single storage pool, making use of storage virtualization technology and, ultimately, more efficient use of storage.

Virtual Desktop Manager 2.1 is available through VMware's sales channel now.

Posted by Keith Ward on 06/10/2008 at 12:48 PM


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