If you’re Google, you want Chromebooks to take hold in the enterprise. If you’re VMware, you want more people using your remote desktop services, aka Desktop-as-a-Service, based on VMware’s purchase of Desktone in October. And both vendors want to see more enterprise traction on their respective clouds.
Under a deal announced Wednesday, Google and VMware said they will deliver traditional Windows applications and desktops to Chromebooks via VMware’s service, according to this Google blog post. This must sort of tick off the Google Apps people who want to nuke Microsoft Office altogether, but I digress.
Update: The service is available now through select VMware service provider partners like Navisite and Softbank; it will be offered via VMware’s vCloud Hybrid Services in the first or second quarter of this year; and, importantly, it will also run on Google’s own cloud at some point, Sanjay Poonen, EVP of VMware’s End User Computing group said in a phone interview.
Google and VMware undoubtedly noted that Amazon Web Services announced its own desktop as a service in November. AWS is a common enemy so this Google-VMware deal is the proverbial “win win” pact provided they deliver and provided you think users are clamoring for centrally controlled and managed desktops. The latter is an assertion I’m still not buying into, but Citrix, VMware, AWS and other vendors see opportunity there.
Gigaom’s resident Chromebook expert Kevin Tofel said you can already remotely access a Mac or a PC from a Chromebook natively with an extension which is fine for an individual or a small group. Desktop in the cloud, on the other hand, would suit bigger businesses that want to deploy Chromebooks.
The news was announced at VMware’s Partner Exchange confab in San Francisco by Poonen and Caesar Sengupta, VP of product management for Google’s Chrome OS. The service is available now to VMware Horizon View 5.3 or Chromebook users as an on-premise product but it will also be delivered as “a fully managed, subscription Desktop as a Service (DaaS)” by VMware and its vCloud Service Provider partners.
Constellation Group senior analyst Holger Mueller summed it up. After Amazon made its move in November Google had to react, because it had no way to manage all those Chromebooks while VMware has a good DaaS but no good cloud, he said via email.
“The really big news would have been to have VMware DaaS run with Google Cloud but that would have questioned the investments of VMWare partners into their data centers and with that the overall VMWare partner strategy. So VMWare partners get more load, VMware gets DaaS licenses, Google can manage Chromebooks with an offering and vendor that is well accepted and known in the CIO office. Good move.”
Note: this story was updated at 11:53 a.m. PST February 12 with more information on which cloud platforms will run this service.