Will Microsoft’s Loan to Dell Benefit vWorkspace?

Dell announced that it is being acquired by Michael Dell and Silver Lake for $24.4 billion. (Dell Press Release)

One of the investment vehicles being used for this transaction is a $2 billion loan from Microsoft. With many rumors floating around last week, I focused on what this means for Microsoft’s relationship with the other hardware OEM’s (HP, Lenovo, etc.)

I was reading this post by Mary Jo Foley of ZD Net. Mary Jo’s post is comparing the Dell situation with Nokia. The majority of the post compares the advantage Nokia would have in the mobile device market with Microsoft investment.

Quoting from the article, “While Microsoft still gives Nokia props and is counting on Nokia for turn-by-turn navigation and Maps technologies for all Windows Phones, Nokia isn’t the only Windows Phone game in town.”

The Nokia-Microsoft relationship has evolved from devices to a software relationship as well. Nokia will be the mapping and navigation solution for all Windows Phone.  Even Bings maps sports a Nokia copyright on it. Microsoft looks to have walked away from the mapping and navigation front and is leveraging Nokia for all their needs.

Will the Dell-Microsoft relationship follow a similar path?

Citrix XenDesktop and VMware View are the big players when it comes to virtual desktop solutions. VMware View runs exclusively on VMware vSphere, and while XenDesktop runs on Hyper-V, the vast majority of implementations run on vSphere and Citrix XenServer.

In order to promote a VDI use-case on Hyper-V, Microsoft baked these functions into the Windows Server platform. I have yet to see a production environment using the Microsoft VDI services.

So that brings us to Dell Software’s vWorkspace. The vWorkspace product page actively promotes Microsoft Hyper-V Server.

In release 7.5, vWorkspace added 3 unique Hyper-V functions:

  • Direct support for Microsoft Hyper-V which includes free Hyper-V Server (Watch video)
  • Introduced Hyper-V Catalyst Components HyperCache and HyperDeploy (Watch video)
  • Desktop Clouds built on Hyper-V (Watch video)

Even though vWorkspace can leverage VMware vSphere and Parallels Virtuozzo Containers, a Microsoft Hyper-V and Microsoft System Center is the premier virtualization platform for the product.

Would Microsoft scrap its development of a Microsoft VDI solution in favor of  vWorkspace built on Microsoft virtualization. I bet the vWorkspace team would be happy about that.

Multi-Hypervisor Thoughts

I read the post titled “Multi-hypervisor management: Have you read the fine print?” from TechRepublic and it got me thinking.

I have been a proponent of challenging vSphere and looking at lower cost solutions (primarily Hyper-V) to support non-production workloads.

While reading this article, it dawned on me what the heck am I thinking. Organizations have years of experience and trust with vSphere. My customers generally purchase vSphere Enterprise Plus so getting them to start looking at Hyper-V based on price alone is not that big of a challenge.

But there is another option…look at lower cost vSphere Editions. Can vSphere Standard provide the virtual foundation for lower service tiers? VMware admins may squawk at losing the distributed switch function or maybe DRS, but a VMware admin loses those vSphere functions if Hyper-V is deployed to host lower service tiers.

I would think that most VMware admins would prefer this direction rather than managing multi-hypervisors.