This is quite an exciting week for VMware engineering with product advancements on a few seemingly unrelated fronts.
VMware View Client for iPad
This week we are launching our free View Client for iPad. This product is focused on addressing two big demands faced by desktop support organizations all over the world.
Demand #1 — IT control and the need to make Windows more secure and manageable: In a world with more mobile and remote users, high costs of desktop support, increased security attacks, and needing to provide users with access to vast amounts of critical data, IT departments must find a way to maintain control. This is especially true in regulated or data-sensitive industries such as healthcare, government, and financial services. This is a well-publicized challenge, and one that has led to increased demand for VMware View, our Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solution.
Demand #2 — User freedom and the arrival of great new computing devices: The rapid rise of smart phones and tablets is also well publicized. These devices, especially Apple’s iPad, has transformed how consumers expect to interact with their key applications and data. And the simplicity and productivity that they have brought to our home lives has raised the bar as to what we expect of our IT departments. Welcomed or not, these devices are entering enterprises with users requiring the freedom to take advantage of them.
The focus of VMware’s end-user computing strategy is the intersection of these two demands: Provide IT control while enabling user freedom.
With the VMware View Client for iPad, we are delivering a user-centric portal to the VMware VDI offering. There are several things I like about it:
- It is the first and only iPad client with support for our PCoIP display protocol
- It lets you access your View desktop from the iPad on LAN or WAN, WiFi or 3G
- It is integrated with the View 4.6 Security Server for simple and secure access
- We’ve highly optimized the performance AND the user experience
I can’t emphasize that last point enough… one reason we buy these new devices is a simple, elegant, and intuitive user experience. Our team has done a great job of bringing the Windows desktop to this new device, but letting you interact with it in the most iPad-friendly of ways [I’m a big fan of the 3-finger keyboard activation and the virtual trackpad]. Download it in the iTunes App Store today and give it a try.
This is just the beginning of our mobile device efforts, and just one step in the overall journey we have in mind for end-user computing. Last month we also made substantial news by previewing our mobile phone-focused MVP product at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. As with View Client for iPad and all of our efforts, the focus is on helping IT maintain the controls that it requires while providing users the freedom to use whatever device they have wherever they may be.
Now lets move from small devices to big infrastructure.
VMware Operations Center
I’m also fired up about the launch of VMware Operations Center (or “VC Ops” as we call it in Engineering). This product is our first offering in a new cloud-scale approach to systems management. What do I mean by cloud-scale? It certainly refers to managing the rapidly growing amounts of storage, networking, and compute that comprise both private and public clouds. But it also refers to a different way of managing this infrastructure.
In a heavily virtualized environment, both hardware and software instances are more dynamic than ever before. For example:
- Hardware resources can be quickly consumed during peak load periods and then rapidly released during lulls
- VMs can move across servers and storage arrays for availability and load-balancing needs
- Networking and security settings must be modified as this movement occurs
- Meanwhile, users are expecting new chargeback models more focused on measured consumption rather than shared amortization
- And all of the above must be handled as more and more users access self-service portals to achieve their IT-dependent goals
This dynamic behavior is very different from the past and places stress on existing tools, processes, and approaches to troubleshooting places. Enter VC Ops.
The result of combining our Integrien acquisition with our existing vSphere-focused vCenter efforts, VC Ops represents a different approach to performance, capacity, and configuration management than the traditional CMDB and change control approaches.
You can read detailed technical information on VC Ops and see a great demo, but the basic approach is rather simple to explain:
- VC Ops collects and analyzes a slew of metrics from your running environment in order to recognize normalcy. This approach lets us separate out, for example, daily spikes in demand from spikes that are unexpected.
- Using deep analytics, VC Ops then recognizes when performance, capacity, or health seems to be headed towards an “abnormal” state.
- This normal or abnormal status is presented in a very simple, contextually-aware dashboard.
- Should abnormality be flagged and you need to drill down into details, there are powerful visualizations that let you focus on the areas requiring attention without being distracted by those that do not.
The goal of this approach is to help administrators manage their increasingly complex environment more easily and proactively. The analytics indicate in advance when workload patterns start to deviate from normal behavior, and then the drilldown process quickly hones in on the parts of this complex system that are potentially at fault. And the end goal of this new technology is to enable companies to accelerate their adoption of virtualization and movement to the cloud.
A Common Thread
So what do these two have in common? In the first case, we are focused on bringing a great computing experience to end-users wherever they may be and to whatever device they may be using. We have many customers with thousands upon thousands of users who leverage the VMware View product…as it reaches even more customers and extends into enabling vast quantities of smart phones, we must provide new approaches to managing this infrastructure and giving IT the control it needs.
VC Ops is focused on exactly this type of challenge. While certainly targeted at server workloads, the approach VC Ops takes (an algorithmic approach focused on proactive control of highly dynamic infrastructure) will suit the end-user computing space very well. And that is a great combination of the very big and the very small.
Let me know what you think.