Today we announced that VMware has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Wanova. This acquisition represents a very exciting and strategic addition to the VMware End-User Computing product portfolio. The combination of VMware View and Wanova Mirage is an industry first pairing that dramatically redefines the VDI market – no longer is the market restricted to virtual desktops, but central image management operational benefits can be extended to more types of client end point systems – including physical, virtual, tethered desktops and roaming laptops (Mac and PC). While you can read more about the business side of this acquisition in our announcement, this blog will take a deeper look at the technology behind the deal and what it will mean to our customers.
Wanova Mirage is an innovative image replication and layering technology that combines sophisticated, layered image management with client-side execution and persistent caching. It was designed to centralize the management of desktop images in the data center and to deliver those images efficiently to physical Windows systems for a native user experience, as well as to virtual machines for execution.
Both VMware View™ and Wanova Mirage provide centralized desktop image management, all or nothing patching and push button image resets. The key difference in these technologies is that VMware View images execute on servers in the data center and use a remote graphics protocol for the user interface, while Wanova Mirage images are transmitted and cached locally for runtime execution on the client systems. This makes Mirage well-suited for executing managed images on disconnected laptops, including MacBooks running VMware Fusion®. And VMware View remains the ideal choice for executing images securely in the data center and delivering the user interface to remote devices such as tablets and thin clients. In this manner, the two products stand independently and when put together address a much broader swath of the market than either is capable of individually.
How Does Wanova Mirage Work?
The Wanova Mirage client splits the desktop image into a set of discreet and independently managed layers, including the operating system, corporate/departmental installed applications, user-installed applications and user data and settings. Wanova Mirage then efficiently replicates these layers to the data center and keeps them synchronized. The data center replica of these layers are efficiently stored in a central repository and aggregated into an object referred to as a Centralized Virtual Desktop (CVD).
A CVD represents the desktop image and can be efficiently stored and managed, modularly restored or redeployed to any physical or virtual system. Individual layers can be repaired or regenerated independently. While the CVD exists in the data center, bi-directional asynchronous synchronization technology maintains a cached replica of the image for execution on either native physical hardware end points or in a virtual machine container.
The CVD layers are maintained and managed independently and acts as an intelligent, bi-directional cache. The base image and corporate/departmental applications layers are controlled and managed by IT. Changes made in the data center are automatically propagated to an employee’s desktop or laptop. User-installed applications that are added on an employee’s desktop or laptop are stored in the personalized user layer and are replicated back to the data center. The image replication and synchronization mechanisms were carefully designed and optimized for the WAN, utilizing sophisticated de-duplication / compression, CPU & network bandwidth throttling, and single-instance file storage in the datacenter.
How Does Wanova fit into the VMware EUC Product Portfolio?
As a standalone product, Wanova Mirage broadens our EUC offerings by bringing many of the operational and centralized management benefits associated with VMware View to laptops and physical systems. This means both native user experience through local execution and disconnected access. The benefits include push-button image restore/recompose with user state preservation, desktop DR, far more reliable patch management and a variety of migration use cases. Wanova Mirage enables very sophisticated migration scenarios; including efficient automated zero touch mass migrations from Windows XP to Windows 7 and hardware upgrades or refreshes.
Wanova Mirage’s underlying technology is also highly complementary to View use cases, by bringing efficient image diversity and management to VMware View and VMware View Composer. Wanova Mirage’s layered image management is highly complementary to VMware View Composer provisioning and runtime storage technology by enabling comprehensive personalization with user-installed and departmental application layers coupled to a common base image.
For example, with Wanova Mirage handling desktop resiliency, it is now feasible for direct-attached storage based Composer pools to serve persistent desktops. And for stateless desktops, departmental layers can be preserved across recompose/refresh pool operations meeting image diversity requirements.
Wanova Mirage also completes our vision of extending VDI to locally executed and offline use cases, enabling seamless two-way replication of managed Windows images, applications and persona between the data center and physical laptops, as well as delivering them for execution as VMs on Windows, Mac with VMware Fusion and Linux. Wanova Mirage’s automatic replication and synchronization is well suited to this use case and makes VMware View completely compatible with offline execution for roaming laptops and tethered desktops where WAN connectivity precludes a remote graphics protocol.
Wanova Mirage also facilitates both branch cache for Remote Office Desktops and desktop DR Always On Desktop use cases. Wanova’s efficient replication of images to the alternate locale can facilitate two forms of branch cache and disaster recovery – 1) runtime instantiation of the image into virtual desktops for delivery by VMware View or 2) local execution on native endpoints with Wanova Mirage.
Just the Beginning
And this is just the beginning. As Windows evolves into a runtime environment for Windows applications delivered from the cloud, the Wanova Mirage technology presents a great building block for delivering Windows Applications as a Service through VMware Horizon and enabling managed service provider offerings from the cloud. We are very excited to have Wanova Mirage as part of the VMware EUC platform.