Microsoft acquires Calista

Microsoft announced yesterday that it has acquired desktop virtualization company, Calista, for an undisclosed sum.

Calista Logo

Calista says it offers graphics performance software for 3D apps, Microsoft multimedia applications, virtualized desktop deployments, and server-hosted virtualized applications using Windows Terminal Services. According to descriptions of the software, Calista seems to function like a traditional thin client, virtualizing the entire desktop. Calista supports all file and streaming media types available "for a modern Windows desktop experience," it says, without the need for dedicated hardware or software on the client.

Microsoft previously acquired Softricity (June, 2006), a company that also offered desktop virtualization (sometimes known as application virtualization).

Microsoft further announced that it will work more closely with Citrix. The two announced joint marketing and co-branding, but perhaps the meat of the news is hypervisor and management interoperability with Citrix. Microsoft says:

Citrix is developing a software tool that will allow customers to easily transfer virtual machines between Citrix XenServer and Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V to help ensure greater interoperability for customers. A test version of the tool will be available in the second quarter, and a final version will be available with the release of Hyper-V.

In more news, Microsoft says it is making Windows Vista licensing more friendly to desktop virtualization.

Windows Vista Enterprise Centralized Desktop will offer what Microsoft says is "unique licensing" to run Windows in virtual machines on servers and access them from either PCs or thin clients.

An annual subscription to Windows Vista Enterprise Centralized Desktop is now an estimated retail price of $23 per desktop for rich clients covered by Software Assurance for Windows Client. For consumers, Windows Vista Home Basic and Windows Vista Home Premium are now licensed for use in a virtual machine environment, and the updated end-user license agreement is available here.

Most of the blogosphere notes Microsoft's timing of the Calista purchase, the Citrix XenServer tool, the Vista licensing and other assorted announcements. Last week, VMware acquired Thinstall, makers of application virtualization technology.

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