VMware has upgraded its desktop virtualisation product VMware View incorporating a new protocol, Teradici's PCoIP to improve performance, particularly for rendering of images.

In a statement, VMware said that View 4.0 would allow "flexible on-demand provisioning of thousands of desktops and applications instantaneously"; feature the ability to support multiple operating systems' improved security; and enable management of thousands of desktops from a single, centralized administrative console.

Other features include automatic provisioning of storage, network and compute resources based on demand; standardised templates to streamline desktop management and enforce consistent policies and permissions; instant updates, patches and changes for users; and support for multiple user scenarios including offline access.

Richard Flanders, the group desktop product marketing manager for VMware UK said that VMware View had been built specifically for the desktop. He said that PCoIP was an "all-encompassing" protocol that would deliver a greater user experience over both LAN and WAN. He said that it would greatly improve the handling of high-resolution images and video over the desktop.

VMWare was talking up the protocol in a blog post last month. According to VMWare's Scott Davis, writing in a blog post, the key to the protocol is that the processing is carried out away from the desktop "PCoIP is a server-centric protocol, meaning that we are doing the majority of the graphics rendering and processing on powerful servers. Compressed bitmaps or frames are transmitted to the remote client.

According to one analyst, while it's true that images will be handled better, there were downsides to the VMware approach. "PCoIP will offer companies much better performance than they have been used to," said Matthew McCormack, consultant for systems and channels at IDC UK, "but It can be demanding in terms of bandwidth"

McCormack also pointed out the much-touted integration between vSphere and View could be an inhibitor. "It's plugging in direct to the hypervisor," he said. "That could lock a user in to staying with VMWare, he warned.

He added that there could be other problems for companies wanting a mixed environment, problems relating to the use of PCoIP. "If you're going a 100 per cent with VMware and PCoIP, that's fine. But if you're going to use a mixture of systems that could be a quite a problem for the IT manager," he said.

John Kish, CEO of zero-client vendor Pano Logic, said that there was another downside to the product. "View is positioned for the complex site - it's great for that. But he said that it wasn't the best way to go for companies implementing desktop virtualisation for the first time. "It's a Ferrari product," he said. "It's very powerful for users with complex installations but sometimes a bicycle is the best way to get to the shops." He did say, however, that he would encourage all Pano Logic users to go down the View route eventually -"it's a great product," he said.

Key to View 4's success is the operational cost savings said Flanders. "Unless we're delivering reduced IT cost," he said."We'll have missed the mark.