At VMworld VMware is showing off a preview of their client hypervisor. When combined with their VMware View product, it virtualizes the client hardware yet gives you the full desktop experience..online or offline. You can then check in or check out VMs, create new client images, all with hardware independence. Gone will be the days of producing hardware specific images!
The client hypervisor is *NOT* ESX or ESX-lite. Clients present a huge challenge to virtualize because of the diversity and type of hardware. USB devices, graphics, audio, touch pads, wireless, etc. The demo included Windows XP and Windows 7 clients running on a Dell laptop. They showed off Google earth, HD video, and full Aero Glass. From my observation, performance looked very good. Booting Windows 7 was a bit slow, and but VMware is trying to speed that up. Their first release will likely NOT support concurrent VMs. It’s not really a technology limitation, but not a high priority for VMware since a very small user base is interested in that feature. Performance and wider hardware support are a higher priority.
One hard requirement for this product will be a computer with Intel’s vPro. Apparently this adds security and other management features which make the client hypervisor possible. So that will knock out many older computers, and even many current computers. AMD must feel left out in the cold. VMware has no public release date for the product, but said they could get more specific under NDA.
It will be nice to finally build and deploy hardware independent client images without the hassle of driver hell. While Prowess’s SmartDeploy is working great for our project to consolidate images, client hypervisors take desktop management to a whole new level. If you have even the remotest interest, it would make sense to start looking at client hardware which supports Intel’s vPro technology so you are prepared for the future.