VMware has made several announcements of interest to enterprises using or considering thin client machines in conjunction with virtualisation.

The virtualisation giant also served up new professional services offerings for enterprises rolling out thin clients and desktop virtualisation.

First, a new certification programme for thin client machines means enterprises can choose from more VMware-certified hardware options that work with VMware's VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) technology. With a VDI setup, virtual machines hold end users' PC environments; those VMs live on servers in the datacentre.

For a list of the certified thin client devices, see VMware's certified compatibility guide.

As we recently reported in an update on VMware's desktop virtualisation plans, many CIOs have been in watch and wait mode with regards to desktop virtualisation, but two technology improvements now in the works from VMware may make it a more attractive option for more enterprises.

VMware has also debuted a new integrated desktop solution for wide area networks (WANs) for customers who want to use VDI in concert with Sun Microsystems' Sun Ray server software and thin clients. The Sun WAN technology makes use of Sun's Appliance Link Protocol (ALP), which both vendors are pushing as a speedy choice for delivering virtual desktops via networks with high latency.

Other benefits of a Sun Ray/VDI deployment: Clients have no operating system and use one-tenth the power of a traditional PC, according to Sun. Sun will be directly supporting customers who buy this joint offering.

Sun's working hard now to establish its place in the virtualised enterprise environment; customers looking to the company's xVM server virtualisation technology have been moving a bit more slowly than VMware customers, since the product is less mature, Burton Group senior analyst Chris Wolf noted in our recent update on Sun's competitive stance in the server virtualisation market.

VMware also announced new professional services choices for companies implementing VDI. These include "jumpstart" programmes for companies that want training and best practices for rolling out VDI and application virtualisation, and new offerings for enterprises extending virtual environments to remote and branch offices.