A lot has been made about the profound changes Cloud computing has been making to IT and the way services are delivered. Less has been talked about how many of these same changes and trends are very much influencing the world of end user or client computing. What are these forces of change? One of them is the new world of heterogeneous devices, their disparate operating systems and application platforms. It’s clearly no longer a Windows-only world. To drive this reality home, one only has to go into a business meeting or get on an airplane and count the number of iPads. The days when IT was able to rigidly enforce client-side device standardization are gone forever.
The other key force here is the emergence of more and more ubiquitous connectivity and SaaS applications. These applications are spreading into the IT environment, but today they are islands unto themselves – they need to be stitched into a common enterprise provisioning and management framework, side by side with the universe of Windows Client/Server applications that will be critical for many years to come even as they gradually recede in importance.
At VMworld, we spoke about our vision for a virtual workspace in the cloud, enabling businesses to securely and efficiently deliver applications (legacy, new, and SaaS) and data to their end-users in a device-independent way; independent of physical devices and independent of specific operating systems. Today I want to talk about how VMware’s End User Computing portfolio fits into this vision and the opportunities for our service provider partners.
View and ThinApp are one end of the spectrum and are about modernizing and delivering Windows and Windows applications as a service. Applying our virtualization technologies to separate Windows from the physical hardware used to execute it. With traditional View, this means Server-Hosted Desktops – running the Windows OS and its applications in the data center and delivering graphics to the client device. In View 4.5, we broadened that solution with View Client Local Mode, the industry’s first true solution for BYOPC and delivering such an isolated and encapsulated Windows image to a client end point for execution. And similarly ThinApp can be used to deliver individual Windows applications to either mode of execution. One of the next phases is to broaden these offerings from today’s private cloud services and deliver desktops and desktop applications as a service from our hosting provider partners. After all, one of the most important drivers for SaaS and its economy of scale is the delivery of common business services that everyone needs, but do not derive value from performing themselves. What can be more common that delivering and managing corporate desktops? Or delivering complex Windows Client/Server applications as a managed service?
Over the coming year you will begin to see VMware broadening the client devices that we support, both for remote graphics for server hosted desktops with View, as well as more varied platforms for View Client Local Mode for enterprise-controlled and encapsulated execution on the client end-point. One very interesting technology I want to point out that is relevant to this theme is our MVP product. This technology is directly analogous to View Client Local Mode, but instead of Windows, it’s intended for Android-based smartphones and tablets. It delivers an enterprise managed, “corporate-Android” image and applications that can execute side-by-side and independently of a personal-use Android image; all on the same phone! This is a great technology all around – end users no longer have to carry 2 phones, IT no longer has to worry about/restrict personal use and service providers can offer multiple services and data plans.
Project Horizon is starting at the other end of the spectrum directly embracing SaaS applications and cloud delivery; providing a consistent way for enterprises to provision, manage, secure, and deliver SaaS and Windows applications to a wide range of fixed and mobile devices. Project Horizon begins to unify these separate and independent SaaS islands into a common provisioning and management framework; allowing enterprises to build a single unified catalog of both Windows and SaaS applications and deliver them to disparate devices all with flexible policy-based access controls. Additionally, Project Horizon provides a security bridge, where user identities are authenticated and managed within the enterprise, while being securely federated and applied to SaaS services.
And, of course, Zimbra is a SaaS service; a great email, calendaring and data management platform, suitable for deployment from both service providers and in the enterprise with a rich, next-generation user interface designed for SaaS. This next-generation rich web interface can be thought of as the beginnings of a virtual workspace portal; a browser based interface that delivers a rich application view for email, calendar and even briefcase file content.
In summary, these are exciting times for service providers and End User Computing at VMware. We are busily working on technologies that advance our vision of the Virtual Workspace in the Cloud; enabling businesses to securely and efficiently deliver applications (legacy, new, and SaaS) and data to their end-users in a device-independent way.