How will Intel buying McAfee affect the desktop virtualization industry?

By now you'd heard that Intel plans to buy McAfee (press release), which will become a wholly-owned subsidiary rolling into Intel's software group. There are plenty of other more qualified folks who've been blogging about the deal in general, but I'm curious about what this specifically means (if anything?

By now you'd heard that Intel plans to buy McAfee (press release), which will become a wholly-owned subsidiary rolling into Intel's software group. There are plenty of other more qualified folks who've been blogging about the deal in general, but I'm curious about what this specifically means (if anything?) for the desktop virtualization space? I mean sure, security is important for desktop blah blah. But specifically what will Intel do with McAfee in our space?

I guess first we should do a quick review and look at the specific things that Intel and McAfee are already doing on their own in the desktop virtualization space.

Intel's current desktop virtualization offerings

  • Well, they make most of our chips.
  • They have vPro, which in a lot of ways offers the same management benefits as client hypervisors
  • They're working with Citrix on XenClient (Citrix's client hypervisor), which will incidentally require vPro-enabled client devices

McAfee's current desktop virtualization offerings

  • This past May, they announced that they would build a special architecture for running antivirus software in VDI and multiple VM environments. (overview|video)

Revenue growth and service VMs?

Several BrianMadden.com members already shared their views on this acquisition in another article. Here are some snippets to get the conversation started:

From Edgeseeker: This acquisition is the most exciting one that I've seen in years, but it also stands an equal chance of being the dullest.

If Intel is merely acquiring McAfee for the sake of getting a bigger piece of the "corporate spending" pie, then this acquisition wouldn't be game-changing in my opinion. Intel is loathed by Wall Street because the growth story has been inexistent for quite some time. This acquisition could simply be a move to dispel this stigma. This could be a big Cloud Computing play.

On the other hand, if this acquisition is motivated by a higher vision, you should then expect a whole new generation of chipsets to emerge, with security and application awarness at the very core. This could also be a very big Cloud Computing play.

Of course, I would expect all platforms to be able to leverage these anticipated chipset functionalities, i.e.,  Windows, Linux, hypervisors, containers, etc. I'm confident such expanded chipsets would deliver the new capabilities to the upper layer as transparently as today's BIOS/firmware.

This is all speculation, though. I still think this acquisition is motivated by the need to satiate the lack-of-growth story. (At least, short term).

From Icelus: I think Citrix gave Intel an innovative push recently when approaching them with the Project Independence partnership (aka XenClient). I believe that may have triggered them to say, "we need to do more to deliver security to desktops than just provide hardware." I am willing to bet service VMs are on the horizon. (A few users on twitter also mentioned that this was probably about security service VMs.)

From AppDetective: Service VMs is what I think what will set XenClient apart from Virtual Computer, etc. The McAfees of the world are far more likely to build for XenClient or other large vendors—not a small vendor.

What else?

Back in April, I wrote that if you weren't careful, implementing desktop virtualization could actually make the overall security of your environment worse. Obviously McAfee played (and will continue to play under Intel) a role in that. But other than that, I'm drawing blanks... Anyone?

Dig Deeper on VDI and Virtual Desktop Security

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