VMware buys Wanova: Major desktop strategy change or expected evolution? Let's discuss!

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.

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?

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Hi Brian,

totally agree.

If VMware is about to use this technology only to improve there "View" offering (e.g. "View Local Mode") than I'll be very disappointed and VMware is about to give away a big chance to adress all the existing FAT client environments out there.

I'm using Wanova Mirage for years and still like the simple idea and great implementation from the Wanova guys.

After going through the process of "VDI delusion" (great book by the way ;) since 2006 I think Wanova Mirage offers the best of both worlds (central and decentral) without being to complex to handle and to expensive to afford.

Because compatibility for applications and devices is the same as with traditional FAT clients you can really use it for 100% of your devices.

And after doing projects with customers > 2000 seats and with >2000 applications I can say that it really works.

Therefore it is a great step for VMware...but only if they also adress the FAT clients  in the future...


I think you'll find Scott's blog post tackles your "main question" - If you're short on time, just look at the pictures!  



I know what Scott's blog says.. I wonder what will really happen though? :)


Brian, Yes, we believe in and are embracing physical as well as virtual with the Wanova technology. Virtual gives you “BYOD”, since enterprise IT is only managing the virtual image and the base is then unmanaged and the end user gets to use the base system for their personal use. Especially well suited for Macs. However, we also believe in the physical use case with native execution. This is a good model for company owned laptops and especially native user experience with the newest hardware. In particular, the native user experience is very relevant with ultrabooks – more powerful GPUs, SSD storage, more and powerful CPUs, etc.

So short answer is, yes we believe both have their place and we are very committed to both Virtual and Physical with Wanova.


Potential game changer.

I think of 3-4 products Citrix has bought for technology that Wanova does much better. Plus other unique possibilities.

If only VMWare had a decent client hypervisior that would instantly mean true same image offline vdi... But hey, Wanova works great with baremetal Winodws! who needs virtualization?!


Scott Davis's comments highlight just how clueless VMware is about this whole topic.  BYOD using the "host" for personal and a corporate VM for work is blatantly insecure.  He should be laughed out of the room for this.

Wanova: "Managed bootcamp for PCs"  Meh.


Agree. Fusion makes for a terrible security tactic. If we're on this subject then more so all those user space "security buble" like Checkpoint's Abra and friends, right?

Hardly Wanova's concern though...


Windows deployment solutions are good, but the world has changed. It is not sufficient to ignore the underlying Mac, and only be concerned with the Windows image.

Mac users use Mac apps. Simple as that, and expect to be able to use their preferred apps, and access data as they need.

While Windows deployment solutions adequately manage the Windows image, the requirement is broader than that.

While Apple still is far behind Windows in market share, it is no longer a mere afterthought but a significant technology. Consider the following:

* Mac is now almost 40% of the US education market (higher in university/college)

* Apple is the preferred choice of what Forrester calls HERO's in enterprise....the top performers that drive the business (i.e. the influencers that tell IT what to do)

* Is the preferred choice of medical professionals

Education and healthcare are the two largest industry sectors in the US. Do we really wish to ignore the application, data and support requirements of these users because we are Windows centric?

There has been a paradigm shift in user behaviour and technology. Consider BYOC and Consumerization of IT. User expectations and needs have changed, and IT has to adapt or face consequences of data breaches, lost productivity etc.

As Simon Crosby has identified, ignoring the Mac side of the equation is a risky strategy.


e: VMware buys Wanova: Major desktop strategy change or expected evolution? Let's discuss!

I must admit this stuff is entertaining.

If you eat your competitors or the things that support your competitors then your competitors should disappear eventually. Right? It's simple really.

Did they buy it to park it or make use of it or castrate it and use what's left. ? Time will tell.

The app market is still mostly tied to MS Apps.

These are tied to the Windows OS Platform.

The Windows OS Platform is kind of tied to the hardware platform

The App vendor rules.

A well managed end device env with a tool set that manages Linux, Max or WIndows OS Devices is still significantly cheaper than VDI unless you like to use the principles outlined in "How to Lie with Cost Models"

Tools like WANOVA are simply "in the way" of VDI and View so VMWARE needs to assimilate or get rid of them or change.,somewhat like legacy H.264 AVC and MCU based video conferencing vendors not wanting to talk about the disruptive H.264 SVC (Scalable Video Coding) which forced Cisco to buy Tandberg so Vidyo would stop taking away market share.

The decoupling of Apps from any underlying end device OS is a key value proposition.

Why substitute year and yuyears of MS for Years and Years of Apple what's the difference? Same buffalo chips different pile.

Should we all give up and be "assimilated" into MS world because "resistance is futile" or should we make choices that keep all our options open?

It's about application delivery to any end device.