You’ll soon be able to run Windows applications on Chrome OS — so long as you have a lot of cash.

Fire and brimstone fell on Microsoft today as the company’s Redmond HQ sank into a fiery pit never to be heard from again — at least that’s what some technology blogs would have you think.

In reality Google, in partnership with VMWare, have announced that a web app allowing Chrome users to connect to VMWare virtual machines will soon be available in the Chrome Web Store.

Windows applications on Chrome OS

The new Chrome app will allow users to connect to virtual machines and applications running on VMWare’s Horizon DaaS (Desktop as a Service). The DaaS virtual machines can be hosted within your school network or on VMWare’s cloud platform and can potentially be accessed from any location.

This means that your students and teachers can pick up any device, including a Chromebook, and connect to their virtual desktop from any location. A teacher could use an iPad to connect to the same Windows desktop that they use in the classroom, or a student could use their Macbook to access a school provided copy of Adobe Photoshop.

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While many consider this an end-game scenario for Microsoft — essentially making locally installed Windows irrelevant — in reality this is just an expansion of the VMWare View platform which is already available for pretty much every other operating system. You can currently install View on Mac, Windows, Linux, iPad, and Android. The addition of Chrome OS to this line up is not only inevitable, but also great for Microsoft, as the Redmond based company can now effectively sell Windows and Office licenses to Chromebook users.

But what does this mean for schools? Well, you could theoretically use any Chrome OS device to replace Windows desktops. Accessing a VM from within Chrome could provide a simple and user friendly way to access Windows based applications. If it’s done right VMWare in Chrome could provide a better Windows experience than Windows itself and give technicians a streamlined way to support Windows applications.

How much control Google Apps administrators have over this will be key. It’s not enough to make VMWare View for Chrome available, we also need to be able to centrally manage access to VMs, provide shortcuts directly to specific Windows applications in the browser, and make the system end-user friendly.

VMWare can be pricey

But costs may be prohibitive, especially for smaller schools. VMWare DaaS Horizon and the hardware required to run such a system is complex and licensing can be costly, but if you’re already running VMWare in your school, this may be a viable option.

If you’re pushing Chromebooks in your school any future software purchases should be accessible through a web browser, but VMWare could provide a good solution to stubborn legacy applications slowing down your ICT strategy. I’ll be getting a trial up and running once the Chrome extension has been released and will let you know how I get on.

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Source: Google Enterprise Blog

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About Author

Profile photo of Karl Rivers

Karl is an award winning Director of IT for the Royal Grammar School Guildford, based near London, England. He has been working in education for more than ten years and founded ClassThink in 2013 to share technology best practice with other schools. In 2014 he won the NAACE Impact Award for support services in schools, and writes edtech articles for Education Executive Magazine.

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