This morning at VMworld, Microsoft and Citrix flipped a bird to VMware at their own conference and announced that they will be standardizing their platform virtualization efforts on Microsoft's VHD disk image file format. In the same announcment, Microsoft said that they would base future versions of their SoftGrid application virtualization product on VHD files, and Citrix said they would be integrating the VHD format into Citrix Desktop Server.
So, what does this mean? Regarding platform virtualization, Citrix and Microsoft have essentially united in a Beta vs. VHS battle with VMware. This is probably good news for the industry, since it will probably lead to a feature war. I imagine it will also work to drive prices down for the enterprise versions of these products.
Regarding Citrix Desktop Server integration, this is likely to include Citrix's Ardence OS streaming product, at least in part. What I picture is a broad solution where a VHD-based virtual machine can be streamed via Ardence, loaded via XenSource or Viridian, or delivered via Citrix Desktop Server. In a model such as this, servers or workstations can be provisioned based on various needs, including hardware capabilities or connection type.
In regards to Softgrid integration, I'm having a difficult time trying to find a good fit for VHD integration. Could the VHD format be adapted and used as the delivery mechanism for SoftGrid applications? Maybe there will be a way to edit post-sequenced applications by mounting the VHD and editing the files directly. I'm hoping there's some SoftGrid experts (tim?) out there that can throw out a few ideas.
Read the full contents of the press release here.