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VMware's AirWatch Named 'Leader' in Mobility by Gartner

Its just-released Magic Quadrant for enterprise mobility management also places Citrix, MobileIron high.

When VMware paid about $1.5 billion for AirWatch in February 2014, it had high hopes for integrating the mobile device management provider's products into its offerings and becoming a major player in the space. It appears that move has paid off, at least in the eyes of Gartner Inc., as the analyst firm has named AirWatch a "leader" in its famous "Magic Quadrant" for enterprise mobility management (EMM) suites.

High Ability to Execute
In its rankings, AirWatch scored highest of any company in "Ability To Executive" in the EMM arena. It also placed near the front in "Completeness of Vision," the other axis of Gartner's graph. MobileIron and Citrix's XenMobile product placed higher for vision, but fell short of VMware in execution.

Gartner noted that AirWatch has been folded into the End-User Computing business unit, but operated without a lot of VMware oversight. "This is starting to change," the report stated, "as AirWatch is becoming integrated with various VMware technologies, most notably VMware's identity and access management and software-defined networking products."

Gartner said that one of AirWatch's greatest strengths is its breadth, making it a serious contender for most companies searching for an EMM solution. As for other strengths, Gartner pointed to its proven technology in enterprise settings, low learning curve with lots of training help, and continuing innovation in areas like Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

The AirWatch downsides Gartner highlighted include a poor email experience; high administrative overhead; and product stability, with Gartner clients reporting "several recent issues on both the console side and the agent side."

Citrix Also Named a Leader
Citrix also fared well, with version 10 of XenMobile praised as making "… significant steps in simplifying the product's architecture and unifies the MDM and MAM console." Gartner lauded XenMobile's user experience and ShareFile, which it called "… one of the strongest MCM [mobile content management] products among EMM vendors."

Under "Cautions" for XenMobile is Gartner's contention that it had difficulty finding large -- more than 10,000 device -- deployments, implying that it may be somewhat untested in bigger enterprises.

Other vendors in the Leaders quadrant were IBM and Good Technology. SAP scored well in execution, but not as well in vision, putting in the "Challengers" category. Three companies were listed as "Visionaries," having a strong vision but falling short of the leaders in terms of execution: Microsoft, Soti and Sophos.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.

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