Provision Networks, the division of Quest Software that develops management for virtual clients, expects to enter beta testing of its portable virtual desktop technology in the first quarter of 2008.
Paul Ghostine, general manager of Provision since he sold it to Quest earlier this month, put the same timeframe on the delivery of another capability he mentioned to Computer Business Review in August: the ability to provision multiple virtual desktops reading from a single OS image.
Ghostine said the development of the virtual desktop mobility offering is being done in collaboration with another company, Vizioncore, which is 70% owned by Quest and whose backup and replication engine Provision is using for the purpose.
Shayne Higdon, director of corporate development at Aliso Viejo, California-based Quest, said it acquired Provision to add virtual client management to its existing product lines of application, database, and Windows management, but it is leaving it as a standalone business with wholly owned division status.
He said this will enable Ghostine and his team to continue on a development path unencumbered by integration into a larger entity with half a billion dollars of annual revenue. There is also a desire to keep Reston, Virginia-based Provision at arm’s length, given that earlier this year it announced global distribution agreements with HP’s Mercury business and the IBM Tivoli division, both of which Quest competes with in application management.
At the most recent VMworld event, Provision announced the new version of its Virtual Access Suite (v5.9). New features included full integration with the Virtualization Manager from Virtual Iron, including power management and what it calls hands-free Sysprep-based OS customization. That release goes on general availability this week.
Ghostine said this means VAS now has full integration with market-leader VMware and challenger Virtual Iron. He said that on the roadmap is a similar level of integration with the Microsoft hypervisor, formerly known as Viridian and renamed Hyper-V.
The virtual desktop market, though still very much emerging compared to server virtualization, has gone through quite a bit of M&A activity this year. In May VMware bought UK connection broker vendor Propero. Then in September it followed up with the acquisition of Dunes, a Swiss player in that space, whose automation technology rather than its connection broker was the reason for that purchase.
Of course, Citrix’s big-ticket acquisition of XenSource took it not only into desktop, but also server virtualization. It definitely beefed up the acquirer’s virtual desktop offering too.
The Provision acquisition by Quest was slightly different in that Quest itself is a management software developer, so it will clearly have to keep the technology heterogeneous so that it can manage everybody’s environment.
This all begs the question: what does the future hold for Leostream, which is the last remaining standalone connection broker vendor? Will another hypervisor developer, or perhaps another management ISV, make a move to snap it up?