Like most conferences, VMware used the Day 2 keynote for the more technical content they wanted to share with the conference-wide audience. The keynote was led by VMware's CTO Steve Herrod. Steve confirmed the high level stuff that Paul Maritz mentioned yesterday. There was nothing really new, although he did mention a cool feature of the client hypervisor that it will have the ability to check-in periodically for enforcement of usage and security policies. The example he used was that if you realized you had a major security problem with one of your VMs, you could enable a policy which would disable that VM. Then the next time a remote client running the hypervisor checked in, it would learn that VM was disabled and it would security destroy it. Pretty cool!
The "money" information was about VMware's protocol plans. They talked about the PC-over-IP capabilities that they're adding into their View VDI products. As you may recall, last September VMware announced that they'd signed a codevelopment agreement with Teradici and that the two companies would work together to create a software-only implementation of Teradici's PC-over-IP remote display protocol. (Today's PC-over-IP implementations are hardware-based, meaning you need a graphics card with a Teradici chip in it on your remote host, and a thin client device with a Teradici card in it to connect from the client end.) From a branding standpoint, VMware never mentioned the word "Teradici" on stage today, and they did not mention that this technology was based on their co-development agreement. (I guess they didn't want anyone to know that this technology was currently available via companies other than them.) Instead, VMware only mentioned this as "PC-over-IP." (And while most readers of this website are familiar with PC-over-IP and Teradici, a journalist sitting next to me was really impressed and asked my several questions about how this "VMware PC-over-IP" works.)
In the keynote, Steve and Jerry explained that VMware would use PC-over-IP to support three use cases:
- LAN for 2D graphics
- LAN for 3D graphics
The WAN use case
Jerry explained that while the WAN use case is really complex, it's VMware's intention to use the software-only implementation of PC-over-IP to support users with 150-250ms latency. They'll give them "basic" flash (think YouTube videos, not full-on Flash apps), voice over IP, remote printers, local storage, etc. (Actually, now that I think about it, I'm not 100% sure the WAN use case was using PC-over-IP. The WAN use case might just be using the traditional RDP with the Wyse TCX extensions that VMware licensed.)
LAN for 2D graphics use case
VMware expects the LAN use case for business apps to be the most common. They'll support multiple displays (they didn't specify how many "multiple" meant) at 1900x1200 resolution, a rich internet browsing experience, "full" Flash content, Adobe AIR, Silverlight, etc. Jerry said this would be the "true PC experience" with HD video and rich 2D graphics. And again, this was all with a software implementation of PC-over-IP.
LAN for 3D graphics use case
The final use case that VMware will support is for full 3D graphics over the LAN, including CAD/CAM, video, GIS, animation, etc. For this use case, they will require the assistance of "specialized hardware on the host and the client." In other words, this is exactly how Teradici works today. (It's just that they can broker the connection with VMware View, which is also actually available today.)
Demo Time: A bit misleading for people not "in the know"
After explaining the three use cases, Jerry showed a demo of "VMware View's 3D performance over a LAN." He used Google Earth and an application with a 3D CAD-like rendering of the Eiffel Tower. I hate to sound so negative about everything here, but most in the audience were mislead by this demo. It was a demo of Teradici's hardware chipset-based implementation. It had absolutely nothing to do with VMware. Yes, the crowed loved it and they applauded wildly. But they didn't know they should be applauding for Teradici, not VMware.
To be fair to Jerry, I don't think he purposefully tried to mislead anyone. He mentioned this was a "hardware assisted" solution connected to a workstation behind the stage. But after the demo, two people came up to me and said "Wow! I can't believe VMware gets such good performance!" I mentioned this performance was from Teradici and their chips, not VMware, and the people were surprised. So while the demo was a connection that was "brokered" by View 3, VMware didn't really have anything else to do with it.
So congratulations Teradici! Your demo rocked!
The big question
VMware has still not publicly demonstrated their software-only PC-over-IP implementation. This is the one we'll all get for free when we buy future versions of VMware View, and this is the experience our users will have when connecting to VM-based View environments. It's great that VMware is planning to support the LAN and WAN use cases, but we're still waiting to see how good the user experience will be.
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