Update on 7/24/212. I received a comment herein included from Scott that dug a PR from 2006 where Citrix introduced a desktop broker in 2006. I added a link to that PR in the timeline. You can see Scott’s message in the comments below.
One of the many perks of working at VMware is to work with some of the people who have written a (important) piece of computing history. We still have many of the original principal engineers from the early days of the company and few of them even wave at me when I run into them in the hallway 😉
In all seriousness, these guys walk on water when it comes to software innovation. I happen to manage the product that started it all, VMware Workstation which is now part of the enterprise desktop products and the other day I was talking with some of the original engineers and product managers in the team and we took a stroll down memory lane discussing the origin of the desktop virtualization market.
The History of VDI
I am using the original definition of VDI here, that is the ability to virtualize and run a number of Windows desktops (the whole thing) in the data center and access them via a remote client via a display protocol such as RDP or PCoIP.
2002-2004 – Early Customer Experimentation
The first people to implement a rudimentary version of VDI were actually our customers. A VM is a VM is a VM… and they were just running Desktop Workloads in the data center with point-to-point connection over RDP.
Here is a customer case form Prudential in the UK dated 2002 This was XP running on VMware ESX.
2005 – First Broker Prototype
Jerry Chen got wind of it and ask Puneet Chawla, one of our kick-ass engineers, to build a prototype for a connection broker which was demoed by Diane Greene at VMworld. We also ran a Lab for customers at the event. At the same event, Mark Benson from Propero demoed the Propero Connection Server (now View Connection Server).
Those were the first high profile demos of VDI.
2006 – The VDI Alliance
In April 2006, VMW launched the 1st VDI Alliances Program which was joined by ~50 partners very quickly including Citrix.
The VDI term was born and launched into the marketplace.
Later that year a formal development team was formed under the leadership of Matt Eccleston and Jerry Chen and they were formally asked to build a VDI product.
2007 – VDM 1.0
Throughout 2006 and the early part of 2007, Puneet’s prototype made it into the field and end customers via the professional service organization. In 2007 the product organization took over the effort and turned it into a shipping product called VDM (Virtual Desktop manager 1.0). The VDI Market was born.
The Propero Acquisition
In April 2007 we bought Propero Software to beef up our brokering capability and started building the second release of VDM.
Few months later Citrix officially entered the virtualization market by acquiring XenSource.
At VMworld September 2007 we announced VDI Broker product (VDM 2.0) and Mark Benson (now a VMware employee) presented the first VDM Technical Architecture session.
2008 – VDM 2.0 and View 3.0
After launching a beta in September 2007, we followed it with the release of VDM 2.0 in January 2008.
This was still a market of one until until Citrix formally entered it later that year with the introduction of the first version of their Virtual Desktop product. We got competition. Competition is good for customers as we keep each other on our toes to deliver better and better products.
In December that year, we released the third version of the product and we changed the name of from VDM to View.
2009 – View 4.0 and PCoIP
In 2009 we released View 4.0 featuring the PCoIP protocol which delivered a much better end user experience than RDP.
2010 – View 4.5
At VMworld 2010, we released View 4.5 which was a cornerstone release for us and the market. View 4.5 featured some great new features but most importantly it delivered unprecedented ease of management which fostered bigger customer deployments. Most notably the biggest public virtual desktop reference on record to date: Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi.
View 4.5 also won the product of the year award form eWeek. It was great to be in the company of Apple iPad in the list of the top products for the year!!!
2011 – View 4.6 and iPad Client
Earlier this year we release a minor release of View as well as the PCoIP-Based iPad View Client that has been received extremely well by the market. It took us longer than we wanted for the reasons explained in this other post, but now the gate is open and we will be able to be much nimbler is responding to the demands of the very dynamic client market.
2011 is not over yet, so stay tuned for some great new things coming out of the Vmware View team!!!!
P.S. let me know if I missed any major milestones and I will update this post accordingly