In case you didn’t see it (obligatory movie quote: “...and judging by the attendance, you haven’t!” – Major League), VMware bought UK-based ISV Propero. It’s understandable to have missed it - neither VMware nor Propero have publicized the acquisition. But, VMware did list Propero in a list of companies they’d acquired to the SEC (VMware is getting ready for their IPO this summer). The list, and website I found it on, is at http://www.virtualization.info/2007/04/vmware-acquires-propero.html.
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I don’t know much about Propero, who makes a desktop broker package called "workSpace for VMware," but conceptually speaking, it had to happen sometime. The VDI space has 5 or 6 peices (servers, storage, virtualization, clients, brokers), and VMware only plays in one (two, if you count their parent company). Microsoft owns the “guest OS” portion, so I just left it out (this is only VDI we’re talking about – not DDI or any other xDI). When VDI was new, “brokers” didn’t exist, so eighteen or even twelve months ago VMware played a big part in half of the infrastructure it took to use VDI. Now VDI is real, and people are using it. And along the way, the broker became an important part of a well-rounded VDI implementation. All of a sudden, the rest of the market was bigger than VMware and Microsoft – the two biggest individual pieces.
To me this move makes sense, and here’s why: VMware wouldn’t (shouldn’t? ... couldn’t? .... mustn’t?) buy into the server or client device portions. That would be crazy-difficult and crazy-expensive. But all the desktop brokers are new. They have to be – the entire concept is only eighteen months old. (FYI – Desktop broker buyers – if your desktop broker company tells you they’ve been in the desktop brokering business for 30, 20, 10, or even three years, they’re LYING!). So now VMware has some control over that fifth peice - the "brokers" peice. Instead of watching as Joe Customer bought ten servers from here, one hundred clients from there, and a desktop broker from somewhere else, they can now get in on the action.
This helps out the VDI user community as well. VDI is almost entirely VMware’s creation (maybe I should say "created because of VMware"), and now instead of having to bring in third-party companies to handle some of the other aspects of VDI, they can provide an end-to-middle software solution (you’re on your own for Windows!). This works for you because it's one less company you have to worry about contacting for support and licensing - as long as you want to use "workSpace for VMware." VMware now controls or has very close ties to the storage, virtualization, and broker peices of the VDI space, and for the moment that can only help the VDI world.
The next year or so in the xDI (yeah, I just made that up. There’s just too many of them) world should be really interesting to watch, and we'll be keeping our fingers on the pulse.