VMware is tackling the IT challenges associated with the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend with what it is billing as a next generation virtual workspace for knowledge workers.
Bogomil Balkansky, VMware's senior vice president of cloud infrastructure products gave a demonstration of the virtual workspace to around 100 customers at solution provider GreenPages Cloudscape 2 Summit in Portsmouth, N.H.
The workspace uses a combination of Octopus, VMware's new cloud-based file sharing application, and Horizon Application manager, VMware's tool for managing SaaS, Web and Windows applications. Using his Apple iPhone, Balkansky took a photograph of the audience and then demonstrated it being synchronized to the virtual workspace.
In effect, VMware is opening the door for GreenPages and other VMware solution providers to offer customers secure access and single sign-on to mission critical apps from smartphones, tablets and even Internet kiosks, said Balkansky.
"The proposition is seamless access to any application from any device," said Balkansky in an interview with CRN after his presentation. "Now you have a single workspace where you can seamlessly access all of these applications with a single sign on."
The VMware products provide an Apple iCloud-like experience for businesses supporting the full panoply of public and private cloud applications, from software-as-a-service applications like Salesforce.com or even internally developed human resource applications.
"We are enabling knowledge workers with a new type of experience, the type of experience that all of us are beneficiaries of in our consumer digital lives," said Balkansky. "Now we can actually have the same gratifying experience when we come to work."
A VMware memo earlier this year described Octopus as "Dropbox for the enterprise." Security has been one of the biggest questions around use of Dropbox in businesses, and last week the popular cloud storage service was hit with a password breach that led to some of its users being targeted in spam attacks.
Balkansky called on solution providers to step up to the BYOD opportunity with Octopus and Horizon.
"It's a huge opportunity," he said. "The way people work has been fundamentally changed. These new technologies hold a similar promise of really achieving the next sort of step function in terms of employee productivity. At the end of the day, this is the thing that matters the most to companies. Everything else is secondary. Our economy is knowledge based. Our economy is services based. It is all about can you get more productivity out of people."
Balkansky said Octopus is currently in alpha testing but did not offer a timeframe for its release.
As for those solution providers and customers that are attempting to keep the lid on BYOD, Balkansky said: "The genie is out of the bottle. There are trends that are bigger than an individual customer, bigger than an IT vendor like VMware. This is just a trend that we either turn into an opportunity or we maybe become irrelevant."
PUBLISHED AUG. 6, 2012