Improving SaaS management with VMware Horizon Application Manager

VMware Horizon Application Manager gives IT pros SaaS management options by creating a portal for business-approved apps with single sign-on.

There are multitudes of Software as a Service (SaaS) problems

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that don't have answers in current IT infrastructure, which tends to focus on internal systems. Adapting SaaS for the enterprise means bringing central management and security into the picture.

VMware Horizon is a portfolio of products designed to help IT get a handle on and take advantage of disruptive technologies, such as mobile devices, personal cloud storage services and SaaS. With Horizon Application Manager, IT can make business applications available to end users in a format similar to an enterprise app store. Centralizing your service catalog into a portal such as Horizon Application Manager means you can make apps available on a single website.

Users get SaaS-y

SaaS delivers applications over the Internet, without any local installation, and has helped many businesses get complex systems, such as customer relationship management, up and running quickly. The software bypasses the IT department entirely and relies on only a Web browser, which makes it easy for individual users to adopt on their own.

As an admin, you have two choices: You can either block SaaS or accept it. Supporting SaaS allows users to take advantage of new, interesting and often more productive ways of working that can become competitive advantages for your company. The problem with SaaS comes in how admins handle application security and central management. VMware Horizon Application Manager, which runs either as a SaaS application or an internal virtual appliance, can help with this problem.

Setting up SaaS apps in Horizon Application Manager is just a matter of selecting a pre-configured profile. Horizon Application Manager connects to Active Directory for authentication and account management, and it lets IT control the provisioning of SaaS services to end users, using features such as federated single sign-on and multifactor authentication.

Managing Windows apps with Horizon Application Manager

Horizon Application Manager is not just for SaaS management. It also allows admins to present internal Web and Windows applications to a browser. The Windows app delivery will be made possible through VMware's AppBlast, an HTML 5-compliant presentation technology (now in beta) that provides easy access to non-HTML-based applications. It's similar to Microsoft App-V or Citrix XenApp, but it does not require client software.

VMware has also added ThinApp integration to Horizon, so you can publish your virtualized application and still keep track of different versions of the applications, which is a problem with some in-house line-of-business software. With ThinApp integration, VMware Horizon Application Manager can be a central repository for your apps in the same way that Microsoft SharePoint is to corporate documents on your intranet.

This was first published in August 2012

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