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VMware, Citrix Should Take a Page from Apple

While both VMware and Citrix have technologies in their desktop virtualization products that are similar to the Apple Continuity feature, they suffer from a significant drawback. Today they offer a user  the ability to launch resources on one device; should the user change locations or use a different device, his active resources (desktop applications) are automatically moved to the new device. This is a simple and seamless disconnect/reconnect operation in the background, which moves an active session from device A to device B without user input.

It works well, but I think that implementing the user-control aspect of Continuity in an enterprise end-user environment would be very helpful. Take, for instance, the current automated process I just described. While it might sound strange, the limitation I find in the process is that it is seamless and automated. Continuity, on the other hand, gives the user the kind of choice that VMware and Citrix currently don't.

What if, in the VMware Horizon Client and the Citrix Receiver client, I had the ability to see the active resources on a device, and move the desired ones to another device? Yes, I understand that in a world moving more and more toward automation, this feels a bit like going in the opposite direction, but being able to perform certain tasks manually provides a sense of empowerment that enhances the UX. This ability falls in that category. It would be a subtle change for Citrix and VMware, but impactful.

Take it a step further: What if I could apply that idea to local applications? For example, if I was browsing the Web on my iPad using Safari, wouldn't it be great to use the Citrix version of Continuity to perhaps resume browsing inside my virtual desktop on Internet Explorer? This may be more difficult than I think, but in my mind it's a URL copy/paste in the background, with a mapping between Safari and supported browsers. (I'm sure some developer somewhere is laughing at my naiveté.)

This could also be integrated with both AirWatch and XenMobile to provide Continuity-like features to any device, instead of being limited to a single manufacturer's device family. For instance, the same examples I gave earlier could be applied to native mobile OSes using AirWatch or XenMobile, so that an iPad user on Safari can resume on a Surface tablet with Internet. Whether that's possible is beyond my knowledge.

This type of functionality has to be in development in the industry; when it becomes available, it will further enhance the UX and fortify the desktop virtualization and end-user computing story. Do you believe this would be helpful? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

Posted by Elias Khnaser on 10/22/2014 at 2:14 PM


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