Yesterday VMware announced that they've acquired Wanova, a maker of desktop management and layering software. This represents a potential big change for VMware, as Wanova pitched their product as something like, "the benefits of central management without the headaches of VDI or a hypervisor." (If you'd like to learn more about Wanova, we recorded a special edition of Brian & Gabe LIVE with them less than a month ago.) Since I'm at BriForum 2012 London right now (which kicks off in a few hours), I don't have time to write a full story, so I'll just throw the basics out there and ask you to share your opinions and thoughts on this acquisition. (Wanova is one of the exhibitors at the show, and I'm guessing they'll have a surge of interest based on the news.)
Wanova is known for their layering technology which allows admins to separate out the management and delivery of hardware, the OS, departmental apps, and user personalization. As I mentioned previously, they've typically presented their solution a way to manage laptops—you could update the OS across different makes and models without disturbing any personalization or customization the user has done. Wanova's product (called Mirage) also does things like continuous backup of the user layers, so if a user loses a laptop, it's fairly easy to recreate their image they can access via VDI.
I'd traditionally viewed Wanova in the client-based desktop category along with companies like Virtual Computer and MokaFive, though after the podcast last month I had an epiphany where I realized that Wanova's layering technology was something that I'd want to use as a management solution for ANY desktop instance of Windows I was dealing with, regardless of whether it was physical or virtual, datacenter-based or local. That was a huge moment for me and in that instant I started to realize Wanova's potential was much more than a small niche. (And that they competed with layering companies such as Unidesk.)
So in that context, I understand why VMware bought them. Real layering and personality for VMware View. Deeper customization than what's possible with View Persona and ThinApp. Good move. But what about all this "local" and "no hypervisor / bare metal" thing? That represents a MAJOR change for VMware!
Up until this point, I always got the impression that VMware sort of ignored non-VM-based desktops, so I wonder if they'll continue to emphasize the image delivery to bare-metal non-hypervisor laptops? Or it's possible that VMware will just build Wanova's technology into View and use it for core layering management?
Something else that VMware Desktop CTO Scott Davis mentioned in his blog post about Wanova is that VMware can leverage Wanova's replication technology to allow disk images to be replicated to VDI host servers meaning you wouldn't need centralized SAN storage for VDI.
One way or another, Wanova has some cool technology. The main question is whether VMware will embrace the bare-metal non-VDI laptop use case or whether they got them just for the core technology that they'll build into View while ignoring traditional laptops?
What do you think?