VMware adds identity management to mobility portfolio

Shawn Rosemarin, executive director for architecture and professional services at VMware Canada

Shawn Rosemarin, executive director for architecture and professional services at VMware Canada

VMware has expanded the mobility portfolio within its end user computing division, adding a new identity management product that it says will provide opportunity for many of its existing partners, and perhaps some new-to-VMware partners as well.

While mobile device management capabilities – such as those VMware bought with its AirWatch purchase – have allowed businesses to manage the devices employees use on their networks, Shawn Rosemarin, executive director for architecture and professional services at VMware Canada, said those tools alone don’t realize the promise of mobility.

“Today, having to conduct some business function and not being able to do it in a mobile way is no longer acceptable,” Rosemarin said. “There’s an expectation of mobile-driven experiences.”

To back that up, he said VMware’s research into 1,000 customers worldwide found that 85 per cent have embraced individual mobility, but less than one in five have moved to “business mobility,” defined by Rosemarin as “the overall organization getting a consolidated benefit from moving their key applications to mobile and running their business in a mobile fashion.”

With VMware Identity Manager, VMware puts itself into the increasingly hot game for single sign-on and identity management among mobile and cloud applications. Together with MDM capabilities from AirWatch, Rosemarin said the promise is “one touch access” for identity into key business applications, as well as a self-serve (but IT-approved) app store for business apps, and access and policy management that integrates with Active Directory. Because of common schema with other VMware products, Identity Manager shares common administration with vCloud Air and vRealize.

It’s an application with potentially broad applications, and Rosemarin said it could be a fit for any organization that’s delivering applications or data over which they’d like to retain control and security, unless they are in a 100 per cent SaaS environment and are running no applications themselves.

“This is a mainstream service for any organization,” he said.

For partners familiar with offering management of and access to desktops and their applications, Rosemarin said it’s a natural way to extend that practice into the mobility sphere with familiar tools. And one that brings with it the “drag of significant amounts of services that naturally finds itself in the channel.”

For existing partners leading with the company’s end user computing apps like View and Horizon, it’s an extension into mobile. For AirWatch partners, it’s an upsell and cross-sell opportunity. And there are some opportunities for new partners to come aboard.

Rosemarin points to VMware’s involvement in App Config for Enterprise, or ACE, an effort by a group of organizations including VMware, Cisco, Salesforce and Box to standardize the deployment of mobile apps in an enterprise environment. That effort puts VMware and Identity Manager in the sights of partners with which the company has not worked before, particularly in the application development space.

“You’re starting to see opportunities for mobile application providers and mobile device providers to look at new and interesting opportunities with VMware and delivering a combined effort to generate more value than either could alone,” Rosemarin said.

The new Identity Manager will be available either an on-premise software license or a cloud-based service.

Details are still scant, but Rosemarin provided one other interesting clue into VMware’s future ambitions in the mobile space. It appears it, like IBM, which last year forged an epic deal with Apple, sees opportunity around Apple’s iOS mobile platform in the business space. Rosemarin detailed a “renewed focus around iOS in the enterprise” at VMware, which includes supporting the platform through Horizon and AirWatch, as well as “additional investments into applications and vertical solutions around iOS.”