VMware aims for thought leadership with new releases

The new VMware Workspace ONE suite, and enhanced VMware Horizon VDI and Horizon Air solutions and VMware vRealize Suite 7 cloud management suite offer channel partners enhanced opportunities and the ability to gain deeper relationships with customers.

Rosemarin_Shawn VMware 300

Shawn Rosemarin, Field CTO for Canada and Chief of Staff for Americas Systems Engineer at VMware

VMware has announced a series of new platform and solution enhancements. VMware Workspace ONE unites the company’s previously separate pieces of technology relating to the digital workspace into a single platform. Enhancements to the VMware Horizon and Horizon Air VDI solutions position this legacy offering within their present digital strategy. Finally, the VMware vRealize Suite 7 cloud management suite drives VMware’s digitization and hybrid cloud strategies, including embracing a multi-cloud world. Together, the company believes the new offerings position it well in a thought leadership position in the cloud and digital space.

The one entirely net-new offering among the new announcements is VMware Workspace ONE, the company’s new digital workspace platform.

“Our legacy solution here was the VMware Horizon View desktop virtualization offering,” said Shawn Rosemarin, Field CTO for Canada and Chief of Staff for Americas Systems Engineer at VMware. “In the last couple of years however, we have added AirWatch [mobile management],  CloudVolumes [app layering software] and desktop-as-a-service. What Workspace ONE has done is take all these pieces of intellectual property and combine them all in one property. All these pieces of IP which were sold separately are now integrated into a single enterprise bundle.”

VMware Workspace ONE provides a digital workspace that integrates device management, application delivery and identity management technologies.

“We believe this is unique in the way it allows the abstraction of any application across any device,” Rosemarin said, “No one else offers the same level of combined traditional desktop VDI, MDM, IAM, and single sign on capability.”

The most head-turning single element here is likely in the mobility space, Workspace ONE provides consumer-grade one-touch mobile Single-Sign On using patent-pending Secure App Token Systems (SATS) that establishes trust between the user, device, enterprise and cloud. VMware considers this an industry first.

“Users have embraced personal productivity, but they have struggled leveraging personal productivity of phones for business,” Rosemarin said. “Vendors haven’t done a good job of moving apps to mobile, and when they do, there are security issues. Most users don’t want to build a new application for mobile. They want to use their desktop on mobile. The VMware view is that they shouldn’t have to compromise. This brings desktop apps down to the mobile device, while also pulling phone applications into a common workspace. Everything is in HTML5, so the workspace looks the same regardless of device. And this is key — when I sign in I have access to all these apps.”

Rosemarin said that a customer doesn’t have to buy the whole VMware stack to get these benefits.

“The foundation here is AirWatch, but if I’m, say, a Citrix customer with XenApp or Xen  Desktop, I can leverage those. I don’t have to be running Horizon View or Horizon 7.”

The platform will leverage the iOS, Android and Windows 10 mobile OS management interfaces to self-configure laptops, smartphones and tablets for immediate enterprise use. BlackBerry isn’t included, although Rosemarin doesn’t think that will be a big deal even in the Canadian market, where the device is still significant for obvious reasons.

VMware Workspace ONE will include consumer-simple email, calendar, contacts, content and chat applications. It  will combine identity and device management with industry-first ComplianceCheck Conditional Access to enforce access decisions across any application or device. Administrators will also be able to automate application delivery and provide updates on the fly, and users can gain access to Windows applications on all devices.

VMware has also announced an enhanced VMware Horizon 7 and VMware Horizon Air, which the company says now gives the industry’s most comprehensive application and desktop virtualization portfolio with options for on-premises, off-premises or hybrid deployments.

VMware Horizon will offer cloud economics and a new cloud-optimized display protocol, along with greater speed in delivering personalized virtual applications and desktops. VMware Horizon Air now has a new hybrid-mode capability to simplify application and desktop delivery.

“One of the components in WorkSpace ONE is traditional VDI, which used to be Horizon View  and is now Horizon 7,” Rosemarin said. “We have driven some additional personalization, and have greatly enhanced performance.”

The major new sizzle here though is VMware Horizon Air with Hybrid-Mode, a new cloud-scale architecture which offers  a new approach to building, delivering and managing virtual workspaces through giving customers the choice of a full cloud-hosted service or hybrid service. It will consist of two main components – a unified Cloud Control Plane and Horizon Node technology that works with VMware Horizon Air ready infrastructure.

“Hybrid Mode lets you run in the desktop, but also spin VMs up and down in a third party cloud, and that’s new here,” Rosemarin said. VMware Horizon Air-enabled hyper-converged appliances will  let IT administrators create up to 2,000 virtual desktops in under 20 minutes.

VMware Horizon will be integrated and available through VMware Workspace ONE. The customers profile for those who buy the whole platform as compared to the VDI solution will likely differ somewhat though, Rosemarin said.

“VDI is now a very mature technology, which traditionally found a home in education, government and call centres, but it never hit every user because every user didn’t need a full desktop,” he said. “Some users just need a few key applications, and Workspace ONE is a good fit for that, as well as for mobile users who may need a VDI instance.”

Donna Wittmann, Executive Director, Channels, Alliances, and Commercial Sales for VMware Canada, said that while the new VMware Horizon offerings strengthen VMware in the core VDI market, the broader message of the new Workspace ONE platform will make it a more dominant partner play.


Donna Wittmann, Executive Director, Channels, Alliances, and Commercial Sales for VMware Canada

“From what we have been seeing, maybe 50 per cent of the AirWatch partners and VMware partners overlap now, and that number is growing,” she stated. “The messaging now is to lead with Workspace ONE because of its stronger overall vision message. That message really  establishes us as a leader in this space.”

The mobility angle in Workspace ONE is critical as well, Wittmann said.

“The services opportunity from a mobility perspective is very appealing, particularly in combination with the new professional services opportunity we launched recently,” she said.

VMware has also announced enhancements to its cloud management suite, VMware vRealize Suite 7. This was originally created last year when three separate products — vRealize Operations, vRealize Automation, and vRealize Business, financial management SaaS software which came originally from the Digital Fuel acquisition — were rebranded into this one suite.

“With this release, we have made a major engineering effort to integrate it all into one seamless solution,” Rosemarin said. “That’s important, because it means the suite is not just packaging. Everything has been interfaced to work together.”

Several of the components have also had major enhancements.

“For the latest version of vRealize Operations,  6.2, customers asked us to focus on optimizing workload placement, which was originally introduced last year,” Rosemarin said. “We do this with tight integration with the technology of the vSphere Distributed Resource Scheduler, which intelligently determines the most optimized workload placement.”

VMware vRealize Automation 7 has also been improved.

“We have greatly simplified the ability to create and manage blueprint capabilities for acceleration of multi-tier applications with integrated networking into those blueprints,” Rosemarin said. “Integration our NSX network virtualization platform in with vRealize Automation makes it network-aware in a much more simple manner.”

VMware vRealize Log Insight 3.3 has also had several backend and operational enhancements, most specifically introducing Simple Query API for easy integration into existing processes, and Web Hooks support for third-party application integration

Rosemarin stressed that vRealize 7 is now consistent with VMware’s enterprise strategy of ‘one cloud for any application for any device.’

“We are embracing a multi-cloud world, not one VMware cloud, but all clouds the customer chooses to consume,” he said. “vRealize 7 is multi-cloud-aware out of the box, which is a net- new for VMware and a commitment to be multi-cloud.”

Rosemarin said that all of the new VMware announcements had a single common theme.

“They go way beyond technology through to the people and process element of business,” he said. “When you fundamentally affect the way people work, you get a level of intimacy you can’t get just from piece of storage. The channel can build a greater level of intimacy with these as a trusted partner that enables a long term relationship, not just a hardware refresh.”

“With these announcements, the VMware portfolio gets stronger in end user computing, the  software defined data centre and the hybrid cloud,” Wittmann said. “Our channel-friendly program support partners and positions them to be thought leaders in these areas.”

VMware Workspace ONE is expected to be generally available this quarter. It will be offered in standard, advanced and enterprise editions with prices starting at US$8 per user per month for cloud subscriptions and US$150 per user for on-premises perpetual licenses.

VMware Horizon 7 and VMware Horizon Air with Hybrid-mode are expected to be generally available this quarter. VMware Horizon 7 pricing starts at US$250 per user for on-premises perpetual licenses. VMware Horizon Air Hybrid-mode cloud subscription pricing starts at US$16 per-user, per-month for named users and US$26 per-user, per-month for concurrent connections.

VMware vRealize Operations 6.2 is now available. VMware vRealize Suite 7 and VMware vRealize Log Insight 3.3 are expected to become available later in Q1. VMware vRealize Suite 7 will be made available in three editions: Standard (US$3,745 per Portable Licensing Unit), Advanced (US$6,245 per PLU) and Enterprise (US$7,745 per PLU).