VMware Inc. is expanding its ability to give enterprises the power to deliver virtualized software with the purchase of an application delivery provider.

The company said Wednesday it has bought CloudVolumes, a California company that makes solutions for managing applications on VMware’s Horizon virtual desktop platform, Microsoft RDS, Citrix XenApp, Dell vWorkspace and others to deliver server or desktop workloads to any virtual machine.

“Customers are looking to modernize their existing Windows application delivery architecture to be more like mobile IT,” Sumit Dhawan, VMware’s senior vice president and general manager for desktop products, said in a release. “The combination of CloudVolumes and VMware Horizon will allow customers to build a real-time application delivery system that enables all applications to be centrally managed, always available and up-to-date, and delivered to virtualized environments for desktop, server or cloud on-demand.”

Horizon customers will be able to lower their desktop and application infrastructure and management costs, VMware [NYSE: VMW] says, while letting end users customize their apps. With real-time application delivery, personalized desktops and application environments can be created at a reduced infrastructure cost by using a single gold image for multiple users or groups, the company said. As a result, customers will no longer have to choose between cost and a personalized experience, it argued in the release.

Price of the deal wasn’t announced.

In a blog on the acquisition VMware CTO Kit Colbert said delivering desktop apps to users, especially in Windows environments can be “challenging and cumbersome,” with adding and removing software “fragile.” Problems are runtime include incompatibilities or conflicts with existing apps.

CloudVolume solves this by layering, which decomposes a Windows instance into a set of discrete pieces, he wrote, like the base OS, or one or more applications, and user day. When the pieces are placed into separate layers they can be easily added or removed from a system. The big difference here is that the applications in the layer are no longer being installed,” he wrote. “Instead the layer is simply being delivered.  This makes adding and removing applications much simpler and less error prone.

VMware’s Mirage product uses layering to deliver apps to roaming or offline physical machines. CloudVolumes focuses on delivering layers to desktops not through the network (as Mirage does) but primarily using the vmdk/VHD-attach mechanism that avoids copying of information in the datacenter.

The goal, Colbert said, is to allow administrators to deliver apps to the desktop as easily as people pluck mobile apps from app stores. Or, as he put it, “admins can now import and entitle apps that will seamlessly pop up on users’ screens, just as users expect.”

Separately, VMware said its vCloud Hybrid Service allowing service providers to offer infrastructure-,desktop- and disaster recovery-as-a-service has been rebranded as vCloud Air. Providers using the service are part of the vCloud Air Network.

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