VMware announced View 5.1, plans to deliver seamless apps via PCoIP and full desktops via HTML5

Today VMware released the details of the next version of View, called version 5.1.

[UPDATED MAY 4] Corrected info about how the View Storage Accelerator Works

Today VMware released the details of the next version of View, called version 5.1. (They also announced that Horizon App Manager is available for on-premises deployments and that Octopus is available in public beta form. Jack Madden covered both of these stories on ConsumerizeIT.com today.)

In terms of major features, there's not a lot new for View 5.1. The main new thing is that vSphere's Content Based Read Cache is now available for View, (though with desktops they call it "View Storage Accelerator" (VSA) for some reason). Originally slated for View 5.0 and pulled at the last minute, View Storage Accelerator uses RAM on the VDI host to cache frequently used disk blocks. This provides better experience with fewer read operations going to the primary storage. [UPDATE] This cache is based on the content of the disk blocks, so if it finds any blocks that are the same, it can consolidate them in the cache. This means that in addition to being able to cache the "master" copies of Linked Clones, it can cache identical blocks from random personal VMDK desktop files. This is huge, and a topic I'll cover more in the future. [END UPDATE]

Anyway, VSA is probably the biggest new feature of View. They also announced that you can use View Persona for physical machines, but they stressed the main use case for this is for migrations from OSes or migrations to VDI. (The way Persona works today prevents a user from being logged into two desktops at once with it anyway, so it's not like Persona is getting anywhere near AppSense or RES yet.)

Finally, there's now a View desktop version of vCenter Operations. First announced at VMworld Europe last year, vCenter Operations for View does pretty much what you'd expect it to—real time monitoring and health checking of View environments. The new View version includes the ability to dig into PCoIP performance—something that's been a bit of a black box in the past.

When it comes to clients, last year VMware separated the development of the View server components from the clients, enabling them to release clients on a quicker schedule. Now they've got clients for Mac, Windows, Linux, Android, iPad, Kindle Fire, and Cius. (Yet still no iPhone client?!?)

But perhaps the biggest thing we recently learned from VMware (thanks to Vittorio) is that they are planning (in the future) to deliver single remote Windows applications via PCoIP, and they will also deliver complete remote Windows desktops via HTML5. That's huge. Right now you can only connect to a complete remote Windows desktop via PCoIP. VMware demonstrated technology they're calling "AppBlast" which delivers single applications via a browser, but that was HTML5 only. So basically in the future we'll be able to connect to single remote Windows apps via PCoIP or HTML5, and complete remote desktops via PCoIP or HTML5.

The other interesting thing about the announcements is the fact that this is NOT an isolated announcement about View. VMware spent a lot of time talking about the grand integration of Windows, web, native mobile apps, and cloud-based services. View is only a small part of that which kicks in only when remote Windows apps are needed. Moving forward we'll see less and less on View (in terms of it being a standalone thing), and we'll so more about this unified app, data, and configuration delivery which combines everything.

Oh, and one more thing. VMware now claims that they have more public reference customers than Citrix with more than 5k seats deployed. I can't say whether that's true or not, but I know that I asked my contacts at both Citrix and VMware for lists of public references with >7k seats, and VMware got back to me right away with a pretty long list. So they're doing something right over there.

And one more additional final last thing: View 5.1 doesn't seem to include anything new around PCoIP. I don't know about you, but I'm a big believer that since View 5, the protocol war is over. PCoIP is fine. HDX is fine. Even Quest EOP is fine. (And Windows 8 RemoteFX will be fine.) Sure, there are situations where one might shine over the other, but I don't think any VDI projects are failing now because the company picked the wrong protocol.

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Brian, I work for a partner of both VMware and Citrix and my guess is the issue with reference accounts on the Citrix side is that almost all of their sizable deployments are sitting on top of a VMware hypervisor rather than XenServer  or Hyper-V and thus they are not jumping up and down to advertise that publicly.  Again, just a guess, but I can say that 100% of XenDesktop deployments that my company has done ride on top of vSphere.  

I am very excited about the VCOPs for VIEW product as well and believe this will be a big help during POCs and pilots to assist in properly sizing bandwidth for production infrastructures along with being a big help for ongoing monitoring and support for VIEW environments.

The other announcements should not be overlooked.  VMware has a great vision for the future which is based around Horizon but it will take some time for that vision to be fully realized.  Looking forward to Summit/Synergy next week to see what Citrix's vision for the future looks like in comparison.


I'm sure Citrix can produce a list easily as I'm aware of at least 10 accounts with more than 7k deployed.

@chris I agree most deployments are on vsphere but I'm not sure why that is strike against Citrix, best of breed solutions are always welcome and as a partner of both I recommend vsphere for many reasons, heck my session at synergy is on best practices for running xendesktop on vsphere and Citrix accepted that session which shows that does not really bother them

Both VMware and Citrix have great visions albeit they will take different routes to get there, I think hyperv3 will boost Citrix even further

@brian I 100% agree with you VMware will focus on amend to end enterprise consumerist ion or enterprise mobility which vid is a component



@Elias My point is simply that Citrix marketing probably doesn't want to put money into producing slicks that say these X customers are running 10,000 desktops and have to put a reference to VMware in there.  Also, don't discount the invisible hand of Microsoft behind the scenes here as Citrix will forever be an indentured servant to them.  My guess is that until you see a 10,000 seat deployment running on Hyper-V or XenServer, any public references will be hard to come by.


@Chris @Elias I don't think Citrix is shy about saying that a large number of deployments are on vSphere.

Here is a blog by Scott Cochran from Citrix on best practices for deploying XenDesktop with vSphere.


@Elias I will be at Synergy and looking forward for your session.


Here is a public case study where a customer chose

XenDesktop over view in an ESX environment



View's new Storage Accelerator is targeted to improve read performance against shared binaries in golden masters and for I/O spikes like boot storms.  In VDI environments, writes tend to be much more of an issue.  We routinely see steady state write to read ratios  in our VDI customers of 70% writes, 30% reads.  I was at the San Luis Obispo VMUG meeting earlier this week where VMware themselves suggested that for planning purposes in View environments you'll want to assume 90% writes and only 10% reads for steady state I/O.

I work for a company called Virsto that uses a log architecture, implemented at the virtual storage layer, that uses 12GB capacity per host to speed all writes up for all VMs all the time.  We routinely speed up our customers' EXISTING storage by 10x in VDI environments - we're just software, we sell no hardware.  This makes us a great complement to Storage Accelerator if you want to use it, or we have our own way of turbo charging read performance as well with built in storage tiering.  

We've got a presentation session at the upcoming BriForum in London where we'll be talking about this approach in more detail, as well as the generic storage challenges you're likely to run into in VDI environments, for any one interested.


Well remember Brian, any good VDI scenario with Xen is about 90% server based desktops and 10% desktop based desktops.  So if you are looking for pure XenDesktop licenses out there I can name tons of companies.  But most of those licenses SHOULD be XenApp shared server Desktops.


> View 5.1 doesn't seem to include anything new around PCoIP

No marketing hype here, but under the hood this stuff continues to get better.  One notable area is CPU Utilization: you use even less server CPU than before.  For a standard desktop workload, up to 25% less CPU than other popular protocols.  

Don't take my word for it though.  Run it through the paces when you get a chance :-)


@Vishal, to my point the PDF states that the customer had virtualized their servers on VMware but nowhere does it specifically say which hypervisor was used for XenDesktop.  You can assume VMware since it says nothing to the contrary but it's not called out specifically.  

Yes, the Citrix field teams will freely admit that vSphere is used the majority of the time as the hypervisor in XD/XA deployments but marketing isn't going to overtly advertise that fact for obvious reasons whether it be in a marketing slick or in public customer references.

Interested to hear if @Brian ever got anything back from Citrix regarding his reference request.


On this bit:

"But perhaps the biggest thing we recently learned from VMware (thanks to Vittorio) is that they are planning (in the future) to deliver single remote Windows applications via PCoIP, and they will also deliver complete remote Windows desktops via HTML5. That's huge."

OK, first, some products have had these features for a long time. Not sure why that's huge if it's just catch-up.

Second, why is publishing a single app from a virtual desktop any better than doing it from Session Host/Terminal Server? The licensing costs are insanely higher and user density lower. Again, some of us have been supporting app publishing from RDSH for a long time ...


To follow up with a few more details on the user experience improvements (including PCoIP) in View 5.1, check out Tony Huynh's recent blog:


Yeah, we didn't make a bunch out of it in the press releases, (you didn't overlook anything Brian), but the goodies are there.