VMware has outlined its vision for the future of end-user computing, including technologies that enable applications to be delivered from the cloud to a broader variety of devices, potentially sidelining PCs.
The VMworld 2011 conference in Las Vegas also saw the announcement of a new version of VMware View for virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), and more details of the firm's plans for virtualisation on smartphones.
Brian Gammage, global chief market technologist at VMware, told V3 that cloud computing and virtualisation provide organisations with a golden opportunity to break out of the corporate desktop upgrade cycle, and get better value out of their IT infrastructure.
"Traditionally, everybody got a new PC periodically which updated the business capabilities you had. Now there are a range of devices, and a range of mechanisms, to make applications available for those devices," he said.
The big challenge for organisations is how to make the move to a cloud-oriented world where applications can be accessed from any client device, Gammage argued.
VMware View 5, available within the next few weeks, adds a number of improvements to the VDI platform, including better support for the personalisation of each users' Windows desktop environment.
The update also includes protocol enhancements that deliver more efficient use of bandwidth, vital for workers accessing a remote desktop over a WAN connection, according to the firm.
VMware is also extending its Horizon Application Manager technology, which provides single sign-on capability for local and web-based applications to support applications that have been virtualised using VMware ThinApp later this year.
The company is also demonstrating a future product codenamed AppBlast, which is claimed to support the cloud-based delivery of any application - including Windows applications - to any device supporting HTML5.
"AppBlast shows how you can take a virtualised, published application from the desktop and make it available over the web through the Horizon platform," said Gammage.
"We're creating the capability for enterprises to begin whittling down their legacy desktop environment."
VMware also announced Horizon Mobile, which provides management capabilities for the firm's mobile virtualisation technology, bringing smartphones under the control of the Horizon platform.
"We're showing the ability to launch a virtual phone on an Android phone, so a corporate phone environment can be provisioned and managed centrally from the same policy controls you have through the Horizon platform," Gammage explained.
The technology, which builds on VMware's Mobile Virtualisation Platform, is expected to be supported in Android handsets from LG and Samsung in the near future, VMware said, and provides a virtual handset also running Android.
VMware View 5 will be available in two versions: an Enterprise Edition that includes vSphere 5 for desktops, vCenter Server 5 and View Manager 5 at $150 (£92) per concurrent connection; and Premier Edition, which includes others components such as ThinApp at $250 (£153) per concurrent connection.
VMware's Horizon Application Manager is initally available only in the US and to "select early access customers". Prices start at $30 (£18) per user per year.
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