VMworld 2015 – Day 2: The Dawn of People-Centric Computing

The notion of a people-centric, instead of a device-centric, application and content delivery model has been around for a very long time.

On the surface, people-centric computing is a simple concept—application and content delivery should be a matter of connecting them to people and not to devices. In my past life at Gartner, I had devoted several research reports to a topic that always seemed just out of grasp from reality.

Reality for most enterprises involves myriad of tools, groups, and processes to deliver Windows, Mac, web, and mobile applications. Many IT leaders that I work with would love to have a single team, set of tools, and processes for delivering applications and content, regardless of application or device type.

Oftentimes, there are at least two distinct management silos in each organization: the Windows desktop team and the mobile team. Policy enforcement is often inconsistent across teams due to tool disparities used by each. For some, web application provisioning and management is still the Wild West, with no central governance or identity management.

Today at VMworld® 2015, Sanjay Poonen and Noah Wasmer demonstrated how it is finally possible to provision applications and content to people, regardless of device. As you can see below, you can manage application delivery to people who are using mobile (e.g., Android, iOS, Windows), virtual and physical endpoints all from a single console. While that, in itself, is significant, the real magic happened after Jim Alcove, Microsoft Corporate Vice President, Windows Enterprise and Security joined the stage and VMware Project A2 was announced.

Introducing Project A2

Before I get to more on Project A2, let’s start with Windows 10. Windows 10 is a transformational operating system, bridging both traditional and mobile worlds into a single user and management experience. The following blog posts provide additional color on how Windows 10 will reshape your thoughts around desktop and mobile OS and application management:

VMware and our AirWatch® family have taken advantage of these capabilities to provide a centralized management solution that will finally allow organizations to deliver applications and enforce consistent policy from one place.

AirWatch Controls

While that’s great, if you really want to transform application delivery, you need to take a fundamentally different approach.

VMware App Volumes has set the desktop world on fire for its ability to rapidly package, deliver, and manage the lifecycle of application layers on virtual desktops and published application (RDSH) servers, including Citrix XenApp.

In today’s keynote, we showed attendees how App Volumes can be used to manage application delivery for Windows 10 on physical PCs, providing the simple and efficient application lifecycle management capabilities previously exclusive to virtual desktops or published applications. Not only that, we demonstrated how you can automatically import application packages from Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager into App Volumes. Compare that to your first time dabbling in application virtualization where packaging a single application could routinely take two weeks of effort. This is the application packaging and lifecycle management experience that enterprises have been waiting for.

In summary, with Project A2 you will be able to completely transform your application delivery methodology by bringing the application management simplicity provided by App Volumes to physical endpoints. Furthermore, Project A2 will provide a simple way to migrate to Windows 10 while simultaneously transforming legacy PC lifecycle management. This isn’t just about going to the next cool thing. It’s about gaining new efficiencies and reducing costs in how you deliver applications.

VMware Identity Manager and NSX

Supporting any application on any device requires more than just application distribution. You need the ability to securely distribute content, allow all apps to be accessed via a single sign-on with no required application modification or wrapping, and provide secure VPN connections on a per-application basis to server resources in the data center or cloud. VMware Identity Manager™ provides a simple SaaS-based identity federation solution that provides single sign-on and a self-service app store. Today we announced that VMware Identity Manager Advanced Edition which is available as a stand-alone SaaS identity solution.

Per-application VPN granularity allows you to tightly control how mobile applications access protected resources. To see more on secure connectivity, take a look at this demo that showcases AirWatch and VMware NSX™ integration.

More VMware Horizon Enhancements

Customer momentum around our VMware Horizon® Suite continues to grow and gain recognition from industry experts such as Brian Madden.  We also announced new features coming in VMware Horizon 6.2, including:

  • Efficient management and delivery of applications at-scale that will deliver a rich user experience to global, multi-site deployment of virtual environments;
  • An enriched user experience with support for Skype for Business and the latest NVIDIA GRID virtual graphics processing unit (vGPU);
  • New VMware Virtual SAN™ storage optimizations that include all-flash options delivering much lower costs and incredible performance;
  • Enhanced security capabilities including support for biometric fingerprint authentication, and
  • Federal government readiness including FIPS 140-2 compliance

As you can see, our end user computing team has been extremely busy. Don’t just take my word; our intrepid EUC business leader Sanjay Poonen has even more to say.

With the emergence of Project A2, rich federated identity via VMware Identity Manager, and centralized application and content managed via our VMware Horizon and AirWatch solutions, you will have the unique opportunity to re-architect and truly transform application delivery to be people-centric, highly agile, and dramatically reduce costs by tearing down old application management silos.

Are you ready? We’re just getting started on what will be a very fun ride.