Provision Networks, a division of Quest Software, is jumping into desktop virtualization this week with its Virtual Access Suite, a desktop virtualization system that supports Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT)'s Hyper-V.
That makes Provision Networks the first vendor to make Microsoft's Hyper-V hypervisor the focus of its desktop virtualization efforts. Hyper-V is available in beta form at the Microsoft Web site and will soon to be part of Windows Server 2008.
Provision Networks is emerging as another company that is a close partner of Microsoft when it comes to desktop virtualization. Provision's Virtual Access Suite is integrated with Microsoft Active Directory, a key component if you want to provision hundreds or thousands of employees with their own desktop in a way that meshes with the enterprise infrastructure.
Provision has also been able to add extensions to Microsoft's Terminal Services protocol that speeds it up, a necessary step for delivering a desktop user experience via virtual machine that resembles that of physical desktops. And Provision's Virtual Access Suite will also help its virtual desktops to be managed through Microsoft System Center's Virtual Machine Manager, the addition to the Windows environment management console for managing virtual machines alongside physical ones.
Some of this sounds a lot like offerings from Citrix Systems (NSDQ: CTXS), also a close Microsoft partner and soon to be the supplier of XenDesktop now that it owns XenSource. Citrix will launch XenDesktop May 20 at its upcoming Citrix Synergy event. Citrix talks about managing virtual machines based on VMware's ESX hypervisor and the Xen hypervisor. But both XenSource and Microsoft support Microsoft's Virtual Hard Disk file format. That means at some point Citirix is likely to be able to supply Hyper-V support as well, and Provision Networks and Citrix will be head-to-head competitors for Hyper-V users.