SearchWinIT is reporting from Microsoft TechEd in Barcelona this week. In an article publised today, Margie Semilof wrote that Microsoft is extending Terminal Services Remote Desktop Services for Windows Server 2008 R2, due out in 2010. Quote from the article:
Terminal Services now has a single broker to connect users to sessions, or virtual machines, or virtual desktop scenarios with Hyper-V, said Ward Ralston, group product manager in Microsoft's Windows Server group.
This move was widely expected. Microsoft majorly revamped the Session Directory feature from Windows Server 2003 to become the Session Broker in Windows Server 2008, and it probably wasn't too hard for them to extend that futher so that it could also broker incoming connections to single-user VDI instances too. This is also a perfect example of the path that Microsoft usually takes with new products. Other companies invent the product and create / open / prove the market, and then when Microsoft thinks they can enter the arena and be successful, they make a product that is not better than the third-party products, but that's just good enough (and free) that people stop buying the third-party products.
So what's this mean for the connection broker market? First of all, having a single connection broker that can broker connections to Terminal Servers and VDI instances is the bigger trend. Ericom, Quest, and Leostream all do this now. Citrix kind of does it because they have two connection brokers that can run side-by-side that you can aggregate at the web portal level. And VMware announced that new versions of their connection broker will also connect into Terminal Servers.
The big question, at this point, is whether Microsoft's solution will be locked to Hyper-V. That quote from Ward Ralston, where he talks about virtual desktop scenarios with Hyper-V... I wonder whether he threw the term Hyper-V into that sentence as a matter of illustration, or if it will actually require Hyper-V.
I'm sure more details about this will emerge over the next few days. I'll schedule some time with Microsoft this week to collect the full story.
UPDATE: November 4
Microsoft just posted more information about this via their TechNet blog. Specifically:
- The new connection broker will be called the "Remote Desktop Connection Broker."
- They're positioning this as a VDI solution for "low complexity, departmental environments, and a platform for partners." (i.e. it's being positioned just like terminal services today.)