Dan's Take

VMware Releases User Environment Manager 9.0

The company says it will speed adoption of virtual desktop infrastructure.

VMware just released its VMware User Environment Manager 9.0 (UEM), a product designed to "help deliver a truly stateless desktop and eliminate the need for point products."

What's New in UEM 9.0
VMware UEM 9.0 is designed to offer both personalization and dynamic policy configuration across what the company describes as "any virtual, physical and cloud-based Windows desktop or application environment." The product, VMware says, will make end-user profile management easier because it provides a "single, lightweight, scalable" solution.

VMware claims that UEM 9.0 will make the adoption of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) or virtual application delivery faster. The product is designed to replace "bloated roaming profiles and unmaintainable, complex logon scripts." It also offers the ability to map environments (read network and printer settings), and apply end-user security policies dynamically.

According to VMware documentation, some of UEM 9.0's new features include:

  • VMware ThinApp Personalization. UEM 9.0 simplifies packaging and customizations based upon content. This feature supports VMware ThinApp and other application virtualization vendors.
  • Unified Administration Console. Provides a single console for IT administrators that allows them to build policy to control application deployment via VMware App Volumes, desktop deployment via VMware Horizon 7, and security and usability policy to control those via VMware User Environment Manager.
  • Application Authorization/Application Blocking. UEM 9.0 enables IT administrators to build black and white lists of applications to control application and license sprawl using simple configurations.
  • Personal Data Control. UEM 9.0 includes folder redirection. This feature has been incorporated into the management console.

UEM 9.0 supports virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution such as VMware Horizon 7, physical desktops, remote desktop session host (RDSH) for applications, as well as Citrix's XenApp and XenDesktop.

VMware points out that companies are in different stages of adopting these approaches, so it's making UEM 9.0 available in multiple ways: as a standalone solution, or as part of VMware Workspace ONE, VMware Horizon 7, and VMware App Volumes.

Dan's Take: A Multi-Front War for the Enterprise
The complexity of virtual access and virtual desktop implementations has spawned a dynamic market for tools designed to hide the complexity and make life easier for IT administrators. While VMware has encouraged this to some extent, it has increasingly appeared to find this a bit problematic. Many tools enable enterprises to easily use a mix of tools and approaches,  which can ironically cause a move away from VMware's tools and services.

So the real goal appears to be twofold: addressing the complaints that Horizon 7 and ThinApp are too complex, and allowing VMware to reassert its control over customers' complex virtual access and VDI environments. This is last point is clear from the company's assertion that UEM 9.0 removes "the need for customers to use complex and costly point products, and enables them to streamline the management and monitoring of user environments."

VMware appears to be both trying to out-innovate competitors while also trying to unify its control over customer environments. The issue is that VMware is facing a multi-front war fought in multiple environments all up and down its entire product portfolio, a war raging in enterprise and cloud supplier datacenters. VMware is facing competition from both vendor developed and open source technology that offers the same or similar capabilities at a lower cost, or with fewer usage restrictions.

About the Author

Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. He has been a business unit manager at a hardware company and head of corporate marketing and strategy at a software company.

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