VMware end-user computing products: An IT guide

A guide to VMware's end-user computing products

VMware's focus remains on virtualization, but the company also has a hand in the end-user computing pie. There's a whole suite of products set to come out in 2013, and keeping them straight is no small task.

This guide explains the various VMware end-user computing products and how they aim to help IT administrators deal with all aspects of consumerization, including cloud storage and file-sharing, mobile virtualization, desktop virtualization and mobile application management.

Table of contents:

VMware end-user computing definitions

VMware Horizon Suite
VMware's Horizon Suite is a collection of products designed to let admins deliver secure applications and data to end users' mobile devices. The suite will include Horizon Application Manager, Horizon Mobile, Horizon Data and Project AppShift. Horizon Application Manager is available now, with the rest scheduled to come in 2013.

VMware Horizon Application Manager
Horizon Application Manager lets IT control how users access corporate applications from mobile devices. With this product, which debuted in 2011, employees can use any device with an Internet connection to gain access to applications through a Web portal. Horizon App Manager first came out as a cloud service, but VMware now offers an on-premises version.

VMware Horizon Mobile
Horizon Mobile is a supplement to Horizon Application Manager on mobile devices. On Android, it uses mobile virtualization to run a second OS, creating separate personal and business environments on the same device. That way, IT only touches the business environment, and users' personal data doesn't interfere with corporate information. Horizon Mobile for iOS uses app wrapping to give IT control over how apps and their data interact with the rest of the device.

VMware Project AppShift
The goal of Project AppShift, a technology now under development, is to make it easier to use virtualized Windows desktops and applications on mobile devices though what VMware calls "user interface virtualization." AppShift aims to make Windows tasks (such as double-clicking and selecting text) easier to perform on touchscreens.

Horizon Data
Formerly Project Octopus, Horizon Data is a corporate cloud storage and file-sharing service. VMware's answer to Dropbox, it is designed to provide secure data sharing and synching for users across devices while allowing IT to maintain control over data and sharing policies.

Analyzing VMware's end-user computing products

Horizon Suite's affect on IT jobs
Horizon Mobile for Android and other VMware end-user computing products could potentially create completely new positions in the IT department. Companies may need teams of people devoted to handling user access and devices. But that doesn't mean the desktop is going away.

VMware Horizon Suite: Bundle of joy or frustration?
The bundle of products that businesses will get with VMware's Horizon Suite is exactly what some IT pros are looking for to help them embrace consumerization. Unfortunately, they've been looking for these products for a while and are still waiting on most of them. VMware says the products will be available in 2013, but some aren't convinced.

Integration will be key to Horizon Data's success
There are tons of enterprise file-sharing services in the mix, but VMware's Horizon Data has the potential to stand out. It will integrate with existing IT infrastructure, offer important management and security features and work with other VMware end-user computing technologies. The real bonus for admins will be if Horizon Data integrates with vSphere, which could make managing corporate data pretty easy.

What's on the Horizon for IT?
Because most of the products aren't available yet, it's helpful to understand what VMware envisions for the Horizon Suite. The overarching idea is to give IT control over users' work environments, whether that's from a desktop, a mobile device or a specific application or piece of data. An application access portal, single sign-on capability and other technologies will contribute to that goal.