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Good stuff for the branch office, and good stuff from Riverbed

Today, VMware and Riverbed announced an exciting collaboration that will offer enhanced, VMware View-based VDI access from the branch office.

As my colleague, Courtney Burry recently blogged, VMware has a number of powerful approaches to management and delivery of a desktop experience to users in a branch office. With all the good branch-office stuff happening with View, PCoIP, and Mirage (from Wanova), it’s easy to wonder what role technologies from traditional WAN-acceleration vendors like our friends at Riverbed play. Well, it’s pretty easy: the Steelhead and Granite offerings from Riverbed will ultimately make good View and Mirage branch office deployments even better.

There are three ways we imagine such appliances being used in future.

  1. With VMware Mirage Managed Desktops: Since Mirage provides central image management, DR/Repair and migration services to physical clients in the branch, WAN-optimizers can play their classic role in optimized delivery of services like email, web and client/server application connectivity. If users in your branch would have benefited in the past a WAN-optimizer, they’d still benefit from it when you bring those environments under management with Mirage. Win!
  2. With VMware View Desktops Running Centrally: This is a classic VDI use cases where desktop workloads are moved out of the branch and accessed remotely via a remote protocol like PCoIP. Here the desktop itself is in the datacenter, so services like email, web, and client/server apps are already blazing fast. However, WAN-optimizers can play a role here by ensuring appropriate QoS with workloads that run in parallel to PCoIP: printing, USB connectivity, voice & video conferencing, etc. An appropriately built WAN optimizer can tap into the protocol and ensure people’s interactive mouse responsiveness doesn’t degrade when someone down the hall starts a big print-job. Yup, that’s handy.
  3. (tech-preview) With VMware View Desktops Distributed to the Branch: There are times when you might want the low OPEX associated with use of Thin/Zero-clients, or even mobile devices like tablets to access a virtual desktop, but due to network conditions, can’t reliably depend on a remote connection to the datacenter. For such situations, many folks have asked about the ability to manage desktops centrally, but distribute the runtime of the desktop VMs to an ESXi host or two running in the branch. While that’s not a supported View architecture today, it’s theoretically possible, and technologies from the folks at Riverbed show how you could effectively pull it off: by optimizing the movement of virtual disk information from the datacenter to branch, View desktops and their virtual images could be configured and provisioned from the datacenter, but be efficiently moved out to the edge for runtime execution. Plus, since the desktops are back running in the branch again, they benefit from the classic WAN-optimization benefits to email, web and other client/server apps.

So in a nutshell, we’re pretty excited to see all the great innovation in our partner ecosystem to make VMware-managed desktop deployments in the branch to work even better. Hats off to Riverbed for the technologies demonstrated at VMworld 2012 — you can expect to see even more good stuff of this sort in the future!

Robert Baesman, Director of Product Management – End User Computing

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