7 Key Takeaways From VMware's End-User Computing Launch4:00 PM EST Mon. Apr. 30, 2012
On May 2, VMware will unveil a series of product updates in its end-user computing portfolio, including View 5.1, the Project Octopus beta, and an on premise version of Horizon Application Manager, according to an internal VMware document viewed by CRN earlier this month.
VMware is also stepping up its "post-PC era" rhetoric and offering more insight into how it plans to hasten its arrival. VMware executives use the term to describe how mobile devices, virtualization and SaaS apps are combining to diminish the importance of the physical PC. View 5.1 desktop virtualization, and VMware's ThinApp application virtualization technology, represent the first steps down this road.
Following are seven aspects of VMware's end-user computing launch wave that stand to leave a lasting impact on the IT industry landscape.
VMware View 5.1 will be available on May 9 and will include vCenter Operations for View. This is a separate add-on purchase that keeps track of desktop performance and resource utilization, allowing admins to troubleshoot problems as they arise.
VMware launched vCenter Operations for vSphere last March, and bringing it to View will fill what has been a technology gap on the desktop side, according to VMware partners.
"Adding vCenter Operations to View is an underpinning for some of what we need to offer desktops-as-a-service," one partner told CRN recently. "The current tools in View are not good at understanding performance and health risks in the environment."
VMware will be extending View Persona Management to physical desktops, which preserves user settings across all Windows devices and speeds desktop virtualization projects. Migrating physical profiles into virtual environments, and vice versa, is difficult to do with VMware tools today, one partner told CRN.
And that's odd, because in February 2010 VMware acquired persona management assets from RTO Software. Until now, though, the company had yet to fully integrate this technology into View, and partners have begun turning to other vendors.
"Partners have been asking VMware for years to just release the RTO stuff. For our View deployments, we are now using Liquidware Labs, and AppSense is also emerging as an option," said the source.
VMware is planning to launch the beta for its Project Octopus cloud storage service by the end of June. First unveiled at VMworld last September, Project Octopus is VMware's "Dropbox for the enterprise," aimed at enterprises that are looking for a more secure, compliance oriented alternative to the popular cloud storage service.
"This is absolutely a huge ‘want’ from just about every customer I speak with," Chris Ward, vice president of consulting and integration at Greenpages, a Kittery, Maine-based VMware partner, told CRN earlier this month.
VMware's on premise version of its Horizon App Manager cloud service will be available on June 15. It's designed to detect Active Directory, or any LDAP-compliant service, and push it into the cloud where it can be used with Salesforce.com, Google Apps, and other third-party public cloud apps. Most importantly, users' passwords stay behind the firewall.
Horizon App Manager is a key component of Project Horizon, VMware's cloud-based identity system that aims to solve IT challenges stemming from the rising usage of mobile devices and SaaS apps in businesses.
View 5.1 also includes View Storage Accelerator, previously called Content Based Read Cache (CDRC), a feature that caches common image blocks while reading View desktop images to keep storage load balanced during periods of intense I/O activity. This should help improve the performance of View deployments.
"Adding CDRC to View 5.1 will simplify back-end infrastructure needs and cut storage costs, which in turn will help VMware build a better return on investment case," said one VMware partner, who requested anonymity because the feature has not yet been announced.
View 5.1 also includes a technical preview of View Composer Array Integration (VCAI), a feature that uses the native cloning capabilities in storage arrays to offload storage operations. This both improves the provisioning and management functions of View Composer, VMware's virtual image management tool, and lets customers leverage other storage options.
Zimbra 7.2 and an updated version of Socialcast are slated to arrive in the coming months. These apps, along with Sliderocket, are also indicative of VMware's campaign to push Windows to the sidelines. AppBlast, VMware's technology for delivering Windows and other apps to Web browsers and device supporting HTML, is another important part of this strategy.
"The predictable and standardized PC-centric model of IT is now obsolete as IT is overrun with the diversity of devices, [operating systems] and applications," VMware says in the document.