There was a very interesting announcement made at VMworld 2011 in Copenhagen which may not have got the publicity it deserves. There is now a VMware sponsored Rapid Desktop Program in place for partners that wish their VDI product/appliance to be considered for VMware View 5.0, VMware's Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) product. The whole point of this program, as its name implies, is to enable the rapid deployment of VDI desktops on a known/proven configuration with pre-installed & pre-configured software, especially for the initial proof-of-concept (POC) stage. This is very advantageous to OEMs (Other Equipment Manufacturers), SI and SO partners who can assemble and distribute a complete VDI in a box solution in a very short timeframe.
The benefits to partners who participate in this program include getting listed in the VMware Solutions Exchange (VSX) & web pages, as well as participating with VMware in producing a co-branded data sheet on the solution. The benefit to customers is that they will be deploying a pre-configured and proven configuration which means a reduced time for deploying a VDI solution.
The requirements for partners are quite straight forward in so far as the VDI appliance must be able to support at least 100 stateless desktops, support PCoIP, have pre-installed (but unlicensed) versions of vSphere & View 5.0.
The process involves self-certification using View Planner to simulate application workloads. The validation criteria is collected by View Planner and esxtop. The initial setup & configuration takes in the region of 4 hours and the test, which involves just a single run, takes about 2 hours. So in one day, your VDI appliance could be certified as part of the VMware View Rapid Desktop Program. And the great thing is that this program is available at no cost to qualified partners.
VMware Solution Exchange (VSX) is an interactive platform that allows VMware TAP partners to advertise their VMware solution information, including virtual appliances, demos and marketing collateral. Qualified partners can receive leads from customers once the VSX is live. The VSX is a replacement for the existing Partner Product Catalog and the Virtual Appliance Marketplace.
I learnt about this program from chatting with the guys from Pivot3 at VMworld 2011 in Copenhagen. I believe Pivot3 and their vSTAC appliance are our first partner to become certified in this program. I previously blogged about this partner's products in an earlier post on VMworld 2011 in Copenhagen. They have an interesting VDI solution which is definitely worth checking out, even more so now.
I think this program is a very good idea. For OEMs, they can now assemble and distribute a complete VDI in a box solution and speed up the time of the initial POC. If you are a partner involved in rolling out VDI solutions based on VMware View, you should definitely check out the program if you are interested in speeding up deployments. It is also a very good idea for customers who are going it alone with VDI roll-outs, especially SMB customers who may not have in-house expertise to configure a VDI solution from scratch. This out-of-the-box configuration approach will make things much easier for them from a deployment perspective.
Partners can learn more about the Rapid Desktop Program from the VMware Partner Central web site here.