Just last week Vmware & Google announced a collaboration effort to offer hosted versions of Windows Apps on their “Chromebook” platform
The all-cloud, all-the-time approach to computing has won Google Chromebooks a number of fans in the enterprise, with access to Windows applications generally delivered through some form of desktop virtualization. A new partnership between VMware and Google will make this approach even cheaper, especially for smaller companies.
Today, the companies announced a deal to bring Windows applications to Google Chromebooks from the public cloud, by way of a network of certified VMware vCloud Service Provider Partners (VSPPs) and technology gained VMware’s acquisition of Desktone. For customers, the benefit is a cheaper way to use Chromebooks as a Windows replacement, without the cost of designing, building, or maintaining a VMware Horizon View DaaS architecture themselves.
“As the countdown to Windows XP end of life continues, deploying Chromebooks and taking advantage of a DaaS environment ensures that security vulnerabilities, application compatibility and migration budgets will be a thing of the past,” writes Google Director of Project Management for Chrome Rajen Sheth in the official announcement.
There’s some obvious synergy between Chromebooks and desktop virtualization — Chromebooks are essentially the thin client design applied to the public cloud concept, and desktop virtualization is a way to centrally manage and deploy applications without concern for what hardware they’re running on.
That said, it’s not clear how many companies will really benefit from this. Desktop virtualization itself is going through a period of rebirth: The rise of software-as-a-service should gradually make it irrelevant, as any enterprise looking for that kind of any-application-anywhere approach can turn to browser-based tools like Salesforce.com or Google Apps itself.
But some legacy Windows apps just can’t be replaced, or more often, there’s not enough of a business case to do so. Hosted DaaS mainly gives smaller companies who wouldn’t be able to afford to run their own virtual infrastructure a way to keep using those old Windows apps on new types of devices. No less than Amazon Web Services gave the market a shot in the arm recently, with the launch of WorkSpaces, a DaaS offering served up from its public cloud infrastructure.
Still, this seems like this is a corner case at best: Any business that’s forward-thinking enough to deploy Google Chromebooks is probably looking to move as much of their infrastructure to hosted cloud services as possible.