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VMware View 4.5 minus RTO equals partner snafu

Since VMware pulled the profile management feature that was to ship in View 4.5, partners have to fill gap or sell incomplete solution.

VMware View 4.5 won't be as easy to sell now that RTO Software's profile management capabilities won't be bundled in and partners are searching for alternatives to fill the gap.

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VMware initially said it would bundle the profile management capabilities gained through its acquisition of RTO Software into View 4.5 and offer it for the same price as View 4. But news hit last week that VMware pulled out the RTO profile management piece due to Windows 7 support issues.

Since  VDI is made up of four pieces -- the desktop OS, applications, user data and user profiles – partners have to look at other profile management products to offer a complete solution, said Aaron Delp, a VMware vExpert with a VMware partner in Virginia.

While he expects VMware Inc. to add RTO profile management capabilities back into View as quickly as possible, with no word from VMware on when it will be included, he has to find a substitute.

"Citrix [Systems] today has solutions for all four [pieces] and, from what I hear, does a decent job," said Delp, who also writes a technology blog. "Now we need to go to a third-party for the profiles piece. It doesn't look good to customers when we need a third-party tool to really complete the solution."

Adding insult to injury, sources close to VMware said View 4.5 won't be available until VMworld 2010 in September. It was initially supposed to ship in July.

VMware did not respond to requests for comment.

VMware VARs scramble for RTO replacement

Now, VMware VARs have to develop relationships with new partners that provide the profile management and that translates into paperwork, lawyers, money, new certifications and classes for engineers and sales reps. By selling customers an alternative third-party product, VMware partners will be displacing RTO entirely; something they don't want to have to do.

"That puts me, as a trusted adviser, in a bad spot," Delp said. "Do I sell what's on the truck or do I push the opportunity and wait?"

On the flip side, third-party profile management companies are thrilled they won't have to compete against a free offering in VMware View 4.5, even if it's only a temporary reprieve.

In fact, deals are already in the works. RTO competitor Liquidware Labs Inc. announced a major partnership with Carahsoft Technology Corp., which holds the General Services Administration (GSA) contract to distribute VMware products, including View, to government agencies.

That means Liquidware Labs ProfileUnity and Stratusphere products are now part of Carahsoft's GSA schedule. A Liquidware representative said the timing is merely a coincidence. "Carahsoft may be pleased to have us now with the RTO news, but our signing is not related [to news that RTO profile management is not going into the new View]," said the spokesperson.

Other offerings that could fill in for RTO include RES Software's User Workspace Management, AppSense Environment Manager and Unidesk's persistent personalization product.

And while partners worry that the decision to pull RTO out of View 4.5 will hurt business, it may not be all that bad; IT shops already using VMware View probably have some type of profile management product in place, said a VMware consultant from the Washington, D.C., area who wished to remain anonymous.

"It shouldn't kill any deals because people don't buy VDI for profile management," he said.

At the very least, this may impact project plans for those who intended to use RTO Software in View 4.5.

"We now have to step back and figure out how to proceed," Delp said. "We want to proceed down the right road, but I don't know which path that is right now."

Let us know what you think about the story; email Bridget Botelho or follow @BridgetBotelho on Twitter.

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