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VMware's Horizon App Manager Makes the Cloud Seem Real

With its new Horizon App Manager, VMware is bringing to life the initial rendition of its Project Horizon vision, which was created to securely extend enterprise identities into the cloud, while providing new methods for provisioning and managing applications and data based on the user, as opposed to the device or underlying operating system. Horizon App Manager embodies that philosophy.

In more practical terms, VMware's new offering gives the company the opportunity to come out from behind all the hard work it has dedicated to its all-or-nothing approach to the cloud, and make it seem tangible by showing users how they can now simply access their private and public cloud-based data via a single sign-on service.

Calling the occasion "a major milestone" for VMware's end-user computing future, Noah Wasmer, who has been the primary leader of the Horizon App Manager development project (he's also Director, Advanced Development, End-User Computing at VMware), repeated a mantra that has increasingly stressed the importance of transitioning beyond the traditional operating system-centric world of IT to new apps such as WebEx, Salesforce.com, Google Apps, BroadVision and Box.net, and devices such as iPads, Android tablets and smartphones.

Citing the forces behind the consumerization of IT, Wasmer declared "Enterprise IT pros, who once were able to say 'That device is not supported,' are facing an empowered workforce that wants to know why they can't have the same on-demand access to their work apps that they have with their personal apps."

What Horizon App Manager is all about is the creation of identity as a "service hub" that securely extends existing user identities in systems such as Microsoft Active Directory and a wide range of third-party public cloud applications. The big benefit of this approach is the simplification of managing multiple access credentials engendered by the runaway proliferation of cloud apps now residing in enterprises of all sizes.

The product's single sign-on access to cloud apps is gained through what VMware calls a "storefront-like application portal," which provides "a consistent user interface from which users can acess their work and personal applications across a broad range of devices. In addition, the user portal provides for the self-provisioning of apps."

Through a centralized application catalog, Horizon App Manager makes it simple for IT admins to maintain control over entitlement and access to "almost any cloud application." In addition, it does not require enterprises to expend their financial resources on new and complex hardware.

In his blog, Wasmer describes being told of a "cloud-first" policy whereby users check the cloud first for the applications they need before selecting something that must be installed. "In fact," Wasmer states, "we talked to a Fortune 100 company that stated they don't just have 10 or 20 SaaS applications; they have hundreds already in use by their workforce."

VMware Horizon App Manager costs $30 per user/per year.

Posted by Bruce Hoard on 05/17/2011 at 12:48 PM


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