Mobility News

VMware Gets Cozier With Apple, AT&T In Latest Enterprise Mobility Push

Kevin McLaughlin

VMware is taking its partnership with Apple to the next level by developing technology that makes it easier for enterprises to equip employees with iPhones, iPads and Macs.

Customers can now take iOS devices out of the box and have them automatically download and configure security and corporate policies from back-end systems running VMware software, Erik Frieberg, vice president of end-user computing at VMware, said in an interview Monday.

"We've been working with Apple for many years, helping them understand requirements that corporations have around configuration, management and security," Frieberg said.

Essentially, VMware is taking a page from Apple's "It Just Works" playbook and applying it to the enterprise.

[Related: Apple, VMware Team On iPad Microsoft Office Killer]

VMware wants to make iOS "a great platform for business" and has been stepping up investment in this area, Frieberg said.

This includes supporting Apple's Volume Purchasing Program (VPP), which lets enterprises buy and distribute apps to their users; and its Device Enrollment Program (DEP), which automates the process of configuring large numbers of iOS devices and connecting them to mobile device management systems.

VMware is also part of App Configuration for Enterprise (ACE), an industry group co-founded by AirWatch, the MDM vendor it acquired last January for $1.5 billion. ACE bills itself as an open standards approach to configuring and securing enterprise apps.

Frieberg said VMware has added its own specific app configurations to ACE. This means a device, after being powered on, will pre-populate user names and passwords and configure security policies without requiring users to manually enter this information.

VMware is also partnering with AT&T on technology that will split a mobile worker's monthly service bill into business and personal portions, in an interesting sign of the bring-your-own-device times.

AT&T is doing about 80 percent of the work to make this happen, with VMware helping out on integrating its software with the carrier's billing systems, Frieberg said.

Meanwhile, VMware is also touting a new offering that combines identity management with elements of AirWatch mobile device management. Called Identity Manager, the offering uses technology from VMware's 2010 acquisition of TriCipher, an identity and Access Management-as-a-Service vendor.

Identity Manager weaves in location-based policy with single sign-on to provide an additional level of authentication, Frieberg told CRN. In cases where a device has moved an inordinately long distance in a short time, this can help determine whether a device has been stolen, he said.

VMware Identity Manager is available as on-premise software or as a cloud service, with pricing starting at $150 per user annually.

Jason Heinrich, manager of end-user computing at Sirius Computer Solutions, a Raleigh, N.C.-based VMware partner, told CRN he's pleased to see VMware tackling some of the technical challenges that exist in this market segment.

"VMware has done an excellent job of innovating in the end-user computing space, but we’ll have to wait and see how this materializes," said Heinrich. "The mobile space is fraught with a combination of application complexity and IT complacency, so the promise of simplification will be welcomed."


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