VMware boosts VDI with Propero buy

VMware today formally acknowledged that it has acquired Propero, a UK-based developer of virtual desktop connection broker technology, but promptly declined to detail its intentions for Propero or its products.

The $25 million capture of Propero had already been published in a recent S1 filing, which said the deal is expected to be completed late next month, but a VMware spokesperson has since declined to explain the purchase – citing regulatory issues.

In fact, there is little about the deal that is likely to surprise VMware’s customers, competitors or partners. As the company confirmed today, it is currently in the process of hardening its Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) strategy which seeks to consolidate its position as the leading virtual machine platform.

This process began last month with the delivery of VMware ACE 2.0 Enterprise Edition, which allows administrators to package virtual desktop images in line with established corporate security and configuration policies. ACE 2.0 also added a Management Server utility which automatically deploys and tracks desktop images.

Today, VMware concentrated on additions to the VMware Player, the company’s virtual appliance platform which has been extended to support two-way Virtual SMP support, USB 2.0 and Windows Vista. It has also received a new interface that makes it easier for customers to browse appliances listed on the VMware Virtual Appliance Marketplace.

All of these enhancements will be welcomed by VMware customers and partners, since they extend the already comprehensive set of service that VMware provides to support the creation, deployment and management of virtual desktop images.

Some members of the VMware eco-system – companies whose products add value and services to VMware’s underlying virtualisation technology – may not be so sanguine about VMware’s acquisition of Propero. At least 10 other companies, including major thin-client vendors such as Wyse, currently base products on VDI using their own connection broker utilities: technology which now looks destined to become part of VMware’s own product portfolio.

Richard Garsthagen, VMware’s European product marketing manager for enterprise desktop solutions, confirmed that “we do have the intention of producing a productised VDI solution” that will include connection broker services, but could not say when.

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