Release: VMware View 4.0 (with software-only PCoIP)

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Last week VMware finally released the much awaited View 4.0, which supports vSphere 4.0 and introduces the software-only version of the Teradici remote desktop protocol PCoIP.



VMware is offering two versions of View 4: Enterprise (which includes vSphere and View Manager 4.0), priced at $150 per concurrent user, and Premier (which also includes View Composer and ThinApp), priced at $250 per concurrent user.


Of course the key aspect of this release is how well PCoIP performs on LAN and WAN scenarios.
Unfortunately the product will be available for download on November 19, so for now it’s impossible to make a performance analysis and comparison with Microsoft RDP 7, Citrix ICA/HDX and the other tens of  alternatives that are flooding the VDI market.


The major problem with PCoIP is if its performance is so great to justify the adoption of a new proprietary remote desktop protocol at its 1.0 release (the protocol is more mature than that but so far relied on hardware components).
Many customers may want to be careful here, mostly considering that VMware and Teradici just have a co-development agreement, which is not even exclusive.
What happens if Teradici is acquired by a VMware competitor or if the company suffers major issues?
And most of all, what happens if one year from now VMware consider this protocol unpractical and too expensive to optimize and decides to replace it, for instance, with the just ratified Net2Display standard

Anyway a lot has been already said.

Brian Madden already published a brief FAQ list, which includes a couple of interesting details:

  • The PCoIP client only supports Windows at the moment. Linux and Mac OS versions are expected next year
  • View 4.0 will fully support Microsoft Windows 7 as guest OS in early 2010

Chad Sakac already published a blueprint to design a View 4.0 architecture with the recently announced VMware/Cisco/EMC hardware called VBlock.
The solution (a VBlock 1) fits over 2,048 virtual desktops and costs $750 per seat all inclusive:

View4_VBlock1The paper includes some performance analysis. It doesn’t clarify if the numbers are obtained when using the RDP or the PCoIP protocol (assuming this will make any difference) but it’s really worth a check.

Update: With some delay VMware finally released the bits of View 4.0 (build 210939).
To install it you first need to update vSphere 4.0 with Update 1 (build 208156), released Nov. 19, 2009.