VMware on Wednesday unveiled a portfolio of end-user computing products to help manage the slew of personal mobile devices corporate employees are bringing into the workplace for use.
The products are built into version 5.1 of the company’s VMware View enterprise virtual desktop.
In an enterprise virtual desktop, all programs, applications and processes run, and the data used, are stored on the server in a client-server architecture. The front end serves as an input-output device.
VMware’s latest end-user computing portfolio is built around VMware Vsphere, the company’s cloud infrastructure platform.
That “improves management, storage and administration capabilities,” Brett Waldman, an analyst at IDC, told TechNewsWorld.
View 5.1 “is about continuing to drive down desktop TCO (total cost of ownership), improve management and security, and the user experience, said Betty Junod, group manager, end user computing, VMware.
Killing the Storage Monster
View 5.1 will optimize shared storage loads to cut costs, and improve provisioning speeds.
Storage costs constitute “one of the biggest challenges of VDI deployment,” Mark Bowker, an Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) analyst, told TechNewsWorld. “VMware’s doing more and more from the software perspective to drive away the cost of associated storage so the overall total cost of ownership (TCO) of VMware View desktops more closely matches the cost of traditional desktops.”
VDI stands for virtual desktop infrastructure. The VDI encompasses the hardware and software systems that are needed to support a virtualized desktop environment.
There Can Be Only One
View 5.1 includes VMware Horizon Application Manager 1.5, a centralized policy and entitlement engine that will broker user access to applications, virtual desktops and data resources. This will be offered as an on-premise virtual appliance.
“The bigger news [about Wednesday’s announcement] is what VMware’s doing with Horizon, which is the workspace delivery platform that will broker, or control, multiple application delivery models into different device types,” ESG’s Bowker said. “Now … Horizon can take multiple SaaS (Software as a Service) applications, broker them through a common interface, apply common access and identity management [controls and common] policies, and deliver them through the client device.”
This will increase mobile device security, Bowker stated. It will also centralize security, which “makes it easier for IT organizations that have a centralization policy in place. Horizon will be the central control point of administration and delivery on the user client device.”
A VDI solution is “one of the best ways to give unmanaged devices secure access to corporate applications because you now have a gateway to your devices in a secure encrypted tunnel,” IDC’s Waldman pointed out. “Once you close that tunnel, none of that data exists on the mobile devices anymore.”
VMware Horizon Application Manager “will embrace all apps, whether they are VMware apps or not,” VMware’s Junod stated. “Our focus is on delivering a flexible platform that can embrace all of what an organization has.”
Cloudy With a Chance of Data Showers
VMware will later this quarter introduce Project Octopus, a personal data cloud, as a beta for qualified customers to try out. Octopus will let users share data and collaborate with anyone using any device. It will let IT govern data usage and set policies for data access.
The move toward collaboration and sharing is being driven by the high usage of Dropbox cloud storage by corporate employees, ESG’s Bowker suggested.
“People are using Dropbox a lot but IT doesn’t have control over what’s going in and out of Dropbox accounts,” Bowker explained. “What if the account holder is to leave your company? Who owns the files in that Dropbox account?”
Using Octopus together with Horizon, IT will be able to terminate or have control over files if a user leaves the company, and the user “will still have the same features and functionality as if he was using Dropbox.”
Who Else Is Out There?
Competitors to VMware View include Citrix’s XenDesktop and Microsoft’s VDI.
Microsoft has incorporated VDI into Windows Server 2008 and will support virtualization in Windows 8.
Citrix spokesperson Karin Gilles told TechNewsWorld that the company “has already released capabilities in XenDesktop 5.5 and 5.6 that VMware is releasing [on Wednesday].”