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Musings on our Post PC, Multi-Device World

Last year at VMworld 2011, we rolled out our vision for end user computing in the post PC era; a multi-device world where everyone is able to use the various devices of their choice to make them the most productive throughout the day for their business needs. IT is moving away from managing physical devices and towards managing and securing their user’s corporate identity, corporate applications and business data. Now, ‘post PC’ doesn’t mean ‘no PC’, but instead it means ’not only PC’ in that people use multiple devices including desktops and/or laptops throughout their day and that they need access to their “stuff” on all their devices in a synchronized manner. This means that business apps and data are available in the most optimal and seamless way possible, safely and securely delivered to all your devices, no matter where you happen to be working from.

What does all this mean for traditional Windows? Well, that’s a whole blog entry in and of itself… However, in brief, Windows has served many roles or functions for us in a monolithic manner when a “user” meant the same thing as a single physical device. As we move forward with a heterogeneous multi-device world, these roles are teased apart – broadly, some parts of the roles become properties of each of our devices, others become properties of the user and their environment that spans devices, and others become properties of applications and comprise the runtime environment within which they execute. The Windows core OS properties that are part of the device take on more of the characteristics of device firmware and managed as image updates. User settings and environments will be cloud workspace based and span all of our devices and application runtimes will be closely associated with the application itself.

In today’s keynote at VMworld 2012, you will have seen firsthand the progress that we’ve made on our path to this multi-device workspace. Steve Herrod gave a technical preview of the industry’s first integrated platform for the mobile, multi-device workspace. We call this the Horizon Suite and we’ll be sharing many of its exciting capabilities that provide self-service access to all your apps and data across your devices including mobile-centric containers for management and security. You’ll also learn about the broadening of our Windows product portfolio, delivering both Windows as a Service for the multi-device world and Windows image management solutions for the Mobile workforce with View and Mirage technologies.

And In my role at VMware, I have the pleasure of helping to guide a lot of our EUC advanced development agenda and I am looking forward to representing these efforts by sharing and previewing some of the new technologies we’ve been working on that will drive us further towards these goals, some of which might become part of our future products. A few of the topics I’ll be discussing and previewing include:

Idealized Persistent Virtual Desktops with View, Wanova Mirage and Project Octopus (a.k.a. Horizon Data). These technologies are all powerful in and of themselves, however we see the combination of them as a game changer in the VDI market. When used together, it will be possible to deliver capex-efficient, persistent/stateful virtual desktops that enable efficient base image diversity and the ability to recompose and centrally manage the base Windows OS while preserving user customizations. This includes user installed applications and Octopus based “My Documents” in the cloud! In other words, persistent virtual desktops with all the capex and opex benefits previously achievable only with stateless/non-persistent VDI.

DaaS Technologies – The term Desktop as a Service (DaaS) is used to describe Windows desktops delivered as a service from public, private or hybrid clouds. VMware View is a robust, mature Enterprise VDI platform, but was not designed off the shelf for cloud platform multi-tenancy and resource elasticity. The new View Agent Connect component has been built specifically to enable our service provider partners looking to offer DaaS to realize the user experience benefits of VMware View and vSphere such as 3D graphics, PCoIP and broad peripheral support for VMware View Clients. With View Agent Connect, DaaS providers can offer a rich, PC-like experience to users anywhere. Taking this even further, Project Catalyst is a prototype of a VMware integrated end-to-end DaaS platform utilizing View and vCloud Director with full multi-tenancy, elastic resource provisioning, self-service portal operation, and more.

Managed Mobile Workspace (a.k.a. Project Fuji) – We are now securely delivering apps, files and data via Horzion Mobile which is extending its reach to iOS devices, providing policy-based management and security for collections of corporate resources on both iOS and Android devices. Horizon Mobile features are designed to enable policy specification, implementation, enforcement & remediation for the mobile workspace.

User Interface Virtualization (a.k.a. Project AppShift) – One of today’s main uses for VDI and application remoting is delivering Windows desktops and applications to non-Windows tablet devices in a multi-device workspace. However, no matter how good the remote graphics protocol is, trying to use a point and click interface on a gesture oriented tablet can be a frustrating user experience. VMware is advancing a unique technology that we refer to as “User Interface Virtualization.” With this technology approach, we’re able to transform numerous aspects of Windows desktop and application interfaces into a rich tablet friendly user experience. Like other virtualization technologies, our approach is completely transparent to existing Windows applications.

I can’t wait to talk to you about our vision, upcoming offerings, and share sneak peaks of these exciting new technologies with you in VMworld session EUC1351 “Directions in End User Computing; the Post PC Era,” offered on Tuesday Aug 28th at 10:30AM and repeated on Wednesday Aug 29th at 8:30AM.