Today, at VMworld 2010 in San Francisco, VMware announced the launch of VMware View 4.5.

VMware View 4.5 is packed with loads of new features which increases VMware View use cases and definitively narrows the gap with Citrix XenDesktop.

In fact, Chris Wolf from Gartner has declared View 4.5 as an enterprise ready desktop virtualization solution.

I’ve attended the View 4.5 beta program and I can honestly say that View 4.5 is a huge improvement. In the past, we had to deploy XenDesktop for VDI deployments with specific customer demands but with the release of View 4.5 these scenarios have decreased significantly.

General availability for VMware View 4.5 is set for early September.

Here are some of the improvements/features in View 4.5:

Enhanced User Experience

  • View Client with Local Mode – The industry’s first integrated offline and server hosted solution for desktop virtualization. End-user can check their virtual desktop out of the datacenter and work without a connection to the network efficiently and securely. Furthermore, the checked out virtual desktop will run on all existing and new PCs unlike other solutions. Additionally the checked out virtual machine is fully encrypted and has policies associated with it. This will enable organizations rapidly deploy desktop virtualization for BYOPC or EOIT (Employee Owned IT) use cases.
  • Full Windows 7 support – Now with the full support for Windows 7, in View 4.5 and ThinApp 4.6, organizations can migrate to Windows 7 at half the cost and time. To further help our customers with their Windows 7 migration journey, a key new feature we are introducing in ThinApp 4.6 is the ability to virtualize IE6 and run it in Windows 7. Migrating your IE6 based applications cannot be any easier.
  • View Client for Mac OS X – With View 4.5 we are further extending support for a diverse set of end user devices including Mac clients. This enables Mac users to access hosted Windows virtual desktops thereby extending the BYOPC or EOIT use cases to Mac users

Simplified and Integrated Management

  • Integrated Application Assignment – Simplify the delivery of virtualized applications to end-users through the View Manager console. This integration enables ThinApp applications to be centrally managed and easily delivered to pools or individual desktops.
  • Rich Graphical Dashboards – Simplify management and monitoring through improved reporting and diagnostics
  • Role Based Administration – allows the distribution of IT tasks to the right administrator.
  • Integration with Microsoft SCOM and PowerShell – Enable IT organizations to plug into existing management infrastructure and further simplify the management of View virtual desktops.

Best Desktop Infrastructure Platform

  • Support for vSphere 4.1 and vCenter 4.1 – Deliver integration with the most widely deployed desktop virtualization platform in the industry and taking advantage of optimizations for View virtual desktops.
  • Increased scalability –Customers can now deploy 10,000 virtual desktops per pod and use this modular architecture to scale out across their organization.
  • Optimized Anti-virus Protection – Integration of vShield Endpoint enables the centralization of anti-virus and malware scanning to optimize virtual environment performance, simplify AV management and improve desktop security.

Lowest Acquisition Cost and Total Cost of Ownership

  • Tiered storage support in View 4.5 – With the introduction of tiered storage, VMware View 4.5 helps reduce the cost of storage by enabling customers to take advantage of multiple storage tiers including high performance and locally attached storage. This helps to not only optimize performance but also allows organizations to reduce the cost associated with storage requirement for virtual desktop environments.
  • Lowest Cost Reference Architectures – VMware has worked with partners such as Dell, HP, Cisco, NetApp and EMC to provide prescriptive Reference Architectures which enable customers to deploy a desktop virtualization solution that is both scalable and cost effective. For the first time in the desktop virtualization space our customers can deploy a virtual desktop solution which costs less than $500. Read more in the Reference Architecture here.