Citrix recently announced XenClient, their client side bare metal hypervisor. VMware announced their client hypervisor back in February and I would not be surprised if Microsoft was also developing a product. A bare metal (or type 1) hypervisor is a virtualisation layer which is installed directly on your hardware. Most of us are familar with server virtualisation, well client hypervisors are simply applying the same technology to desktops and laptops. A client hypervisor is more challenging to develop though due to the much broader hardware support needed: think graphics, audio, USB, firewire etc.
So what’s the point? Why the race to bring out a client hypervisor? Because the client hypervisor could be the missing piece of the VDI puzzle. Today, if you implement a VDI solution what do you do with your mobile users or power users who need more resources than VDI can provide? Nothing, you leave them running a locally installed OS which is a different image (or possibly several images to accommodation hardware flavours) to the VDI users. This means greater management effort and costs as well as more difficult and complex troubleshooting.
In the client hypervisor world everyone in your organisation can run the same OS image whether connected to a server based VDI instance or on a physical laptop or desktop. This will drastically simplify environments with follow on cost savings.
Bring it on I say! I can’t wait to try out a client hypervisor.
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