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It's End-User Computing Day at VMworld

As far back as I can remember, VMworld has always been a fantastic conference to attend, filled with innovation, great sessions and an overall aura of energy and excitement. This year was no different, with the conference living up to its traditions with one caveat: The keynotes were not impressive, were lacking the traditional wow factor and just felt very dull this year. I thought maybe the first keynote was that way because it was basically outgoing-CEO Paul Maritz handing over the torch to incoming-CEO Pat Gelsinger. Then the next day, CTO Steve Herrod's keynote was also lacking. I most definitely did not walk away from either keynotes feeling that I need to further investigate the technologies they highlighted. That was disappointing.

That being said, here's a wrap-up of some of the key technologies they discussed and showed off:

Horizon To Manage Citrix XenApp -- Yes, you are reading it correctly. After about four years of demonizing Citrix and, to some extent, RDSH, VMware now says we it is going to support it. Horizon will integrate with and manage XenApp. Make no mistake, it does NOT not mean you will be publishing applications from Horizon to XenApp, but rather I think it will be limited to some provisioning efforts and most definitely to presenting the XenApp published applications into Horizon.

That is not the importance of this integration, however, VMware is positioning the product from a psychological perspective, from a marketing perspective to say, "Go with VMware View -- we can support XenApp and eventually you want the consolidated stack." It will try a different approach at moving customers from XenApp to View. My recommendation to VMware, again and again: You need to support RDSH beyond what Teradicci can now do with RDSH. You need a platform.

I have been saying this for a while now: EUC needs a strategy where physical and virtual computers have a purpose, where application management has a use case, etc. We need an EUC strategy that is flexible because users are different, so the one-size-fits-all strategy will never work.

Project AppShift -- That was pretty cool and is essentially very similar to what Citrix Mobility Pack offers, which is an enhanced mobile experience for traditional Windows applications. Enhancements like larger icons, a keyboard popout when text forms are selected, these kinds of features can significantly enhance the user experience on mobile devices.

Wanova Integration with View -- I have always enjoyed the Wanova technology, and the Mirage integration with View is very cool. The idea here is that Mirage can do physical machines very well and it can integrate the same physical disk image by automatically provisioning it into a VM. The demo was pretty cool: Vittorio receives a laptop provisioned with Mirage and he accidentally drops it. He calls tech support and has the image on the broken laptop automatically provisioned into a View desktop.

Horizon Suite -- Weird announcement: A suite without telling us what goes in here, just that there is a suite. Ok, I guess we will stay tuned and/or try to guess.

Horizon Data -- Umm, could this be part of the Horizon Suite? I think/guess so. This is the old Project Octopus, renamed.

AppBlast -- I was very, very disappointed here. So VMware changes strategy in the matter of one year? It went from positioning AppBlast as a takeover plan of Citrix XenApp to "it will be available for desktops first, and then more..." huh? You wowed the crowd with AppBlast HTML 5 applications and now you take us back to desktops? Very disappointed! Again, there is no way AppBlast can have scaled applications without having a dedicated VM for each app. VMware, you need a XenApp-like solution. It's inevitable and I think it should come from Ericom. AppBlast is cool for apps, but it's called AppBlast, not Desktop Blast.

ThinApp Factory -- Another disappointment, in that there was no mention of this technology at all. I was expecting that it would be now available for download, but none of the keynoters mentioned it, let alone a release date.

Horizon Mobile -- I asked Steve Herrod in an interview that I did for Forbes if Horizon Mobile was dead. Herrod decisively said no. A mobile hypervisor was cool in 2008, but since then, that hypervisor is still only for Android devices. Hey, VMware, iOS is a market leader, so what's the point? Where is this going, and why do I need this hypervisor? It's too complicated! Bite the bullet, and get rid of it.

Mobile Application Wrapping -- Okay, this is was awesome! Still, can someone please explain to me why application wrapping is just for iOS? What prevents you from doing the same for Android? That way, it is a consistent strategy. (Yes, It is definitely a welcome technology...)

Sandbox E-Mail Client -- VMware here continues with its application wrapping strategy and wraps the Zimbra e-mail client. It's very cool, indeed, and is needed since the native iOS mail client is very inflexible and is difficult to integrate with third-party applications. Good move, VMware!

As you can see, there are lots of cool things happening here at VMworld and some things that are a bit confusing to me. Horizon is definitely very cool and can now be positioned as a centralized portal for SaaS, Windows, Mobile and other applications, and that automatically becomes the enterprise store.

What do you think? Am I being fair in my analysis or am I missing something? Comment here.

Posted by Elias Khnaser on 08/29/2012 at 12:49 PM


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