This week VMware unveiled a reworked version of its Horizon Suite, the all-in-one end point management offering that was first announced at VMworld 2012. This latest release includes a new solution that will allow admins to manage users, rather than devices. VMware is one of several top vendors this week to revamp BYOD and virtualized management tools, emphasizing the growing need to better accomodate the consumerization of IT.
The platform is named VMware Horizon Workplace, and it’s designed to transform PCs into “centralized managed IT services.” The solution aggregates devices, apps, data and user privileges in easily manageable profiles that can be associated with individual employees or entire departments.
In addition to Workspace, VMware announced new versions of Horizon View and Horizon Mirage.
View 5.2 offers improved user experience on tablet devices, and introduces support for hardware-accelerated 3-D graphics. The latter addition is meant to make the software viable for enterprises that are dependent on complicated computer models: manufacturers, construction firms, oil companies and so forth.
The latest version of View also features HTML5 access, which means that users no longer have to download a client app in order to log into their remote desktop.
Horizon Mirage 4.0, the latest edition of VMware’s end point image management offering, also comes with an impressive set of enhancements. The framework now gives IT better control over individual images residing in the same machine, offers full support for virtualized Windows environments running on Macs, and ships with a complimentary Fusion Professional bundle. V4.0 is also compatible with VMware ThinApp.
“Instead of treating remote work styles as an exception, success at Jaguar Land Rover will mean designing systems and policies assuming that everyone is mobile, using multiple personal devices connecting over both local and global networks,” said Gordon McMullan, acting chief technology officer, Chief Information Technology Office, Jaguar Land Rover Automotive. “VMware’s Horizon Suite is at the heart of this capability. This will dramatically improve collaboration and productivity of our global workforce.”
The Horizon Suite is expected to launch sometime this quarter. Pricing will start at $300 per named user.
Why update Horizon now?
Citrix and IBM also launched new end-point management tools this week, reiterating the fundamental changes undergoing today’s workforce. BYOD is an established trend, as is remote-working and mobile-enhanced productivity. So why the sudden rush to market with new products and services? What’s changed in recent months to warrant a fresh wave of management tools?
For VMware, the growing need to maintain compliance and gain better control over work-related data at the granular level is driving demand for the updated Horizon suite. And we have the cloud to thank. Employees have taken the liberty of using web-based tools like Google Drive and Dropbox to share files and collaborate with team members, operating outside the jurisdiction of their employer’s toolkit.
“There’s some capabilities that showed up on the consumer side that have benefits for the enterprise, so we’re rolling those in now,” explains a VMware representative. “The concept of an app catalog is familiar to end users. We create the catalog so IT can provide [end users] easy access. We’re innovating around the security needs for IT.”
It comes as no surprise that enterprises need more control over end user access. Employees these days are faced with a barrage of cloud tools, targeting them on the individual level in an effort to infiltrate the enterprise. Many consumer-facing cloud services like Dropbox, Box and SugarSync, have expanded to the business sector, and mobile devices and remote working presents the perfect opportunity for third party apps to be carried (literally) into the workplace.
With no audit trails or integrated security offerings that IT can readily access, VMware is leveraging an opportunity to layer in the web-based services end users need, alongside the security and compliance regulations required by employers. Will VMware and other integrated vendor offerings squeeze out the likes of Dropbox before it gets a chance to fully penetrate the enterprise market? Time will tell, but these kinds of services combined with security are key to the development of enterprise-grade cloud computing for end users.