VMware Memo Outlines View 5.1, Project Octopus Launch Plans

VMware is gearing up to unveil a series of product updates next month in its end user computing portfolio, CRN has learned.

The updates, outlined in an internal company document viewed by CRN, will be announced on May 2. They include View 5.1, the latest version of VMware's desktop virtualization software; an on premise version of Horizon Application Manager, a VMware-hosted identity management service; and Zimbra 7.2, an update to the company's open source email and collaboration software.

VMware will also open the beta for Project Octopus, the cloud storage service company executives often refer to as "Dropbox for the enterprise," by the end of June, according to the document.

VMware could not be reached for comment.

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VMware View 5.1 will be available on May 9 and will include vCenter Operations for View, according to the document. This is a separate add-on purchase that keeps track of desktop performance and resource utilization, giving admins the ability 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, one VMware partner told CRN.

"Adding vCenter Operations to View is an underpinning for some of what we need to offer desktops-as-a-service," said the source, who requested anonymity. "The current tools in View are not good at understanding performance and health risks in the environment."

View 5.1 also includes View Storage Accelerator, previously called Content Based Read Cache, a feature that caches common image blocks while reading desktop images in order to keep storage load on an even keel, according to the document.

In the update, VMware will also be extending View Personal Management to physical desktops, a move that preserves user settings across all Windows devices and speeds desktop virtualization projects, according to the document.

NEXT: VMware's Horizon App Manager, Project Octopus Plans

Meanwhile, VMware's on premise version of Horizon App Manager will be available on June 15, according to the document. It is 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. Users' passwords, however, 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.

Project Octopus is VMware's answer to the security risks associated with Dropbox usage in businesses. VMware released a technical preview of the storage service last September at VMworld, touting its ability to let browser-enabled mobile devices and computing platforms share, access, display, edit and collaborate on documents and automatically have changes synchronized across devices.

End user computing is a major pillar of VMware's cloud computing strategy, as it supports the company's view -- often voiced by CEO Paul Maritz and CTO Stephen Herrod -- that the industry has entered a "post-PC era" in which the dominance of Windows is dwindling.

"At the end of the day, people don't buy tablets to access Windows. That’s where we think virtualization has a place," Herrod said last September at the GigaOM Mobilize conference.