VMware demos Horizon for workspace aggregationVMware has fleshed out its desktop virtualisation strategy with a suite of products designed to make desktop computing more manageable by using workspace aggregation. Article by Cliff Saran.As 30 June, 2014 – the end of support date for Windows XP – looms ever closer, IT departments need to migrate from their legacy desktop Windows platform. But while some CIOs may prefer to deploy the now mature Windows 7 operating system (OS), IT departments have more choice including skipping Windows 7 altogether. They can deploy Windows 8 or desktop virtualisation. Moreover, unlike in October 2009, when Windows 7 launched, supporting desktop IT has changed. Locking down corporate PCs and laptops is no longer acceptable for end users. They want to use their own software and often prefer their own devices.
“Modern solutions will need to have an integrated approach that holistically manages users, applications and devices to satisfy radically changing requirements to be well accepted by today’s IT organisations.”
VMware sees an opportunity to push its flavour of desktop virtualisation. “Migration to Windows 7 and 8, bring-your-own-device (BYOD), and the cloud are challenging IT organisations with new complexities and risks,” said Boaz Chalamish, senior vice-president at VMware.
Horizon provides a web management console which IT departments use to build a service catalogue containing company data and applications. It also holds information on a user’s environment (device, location and connectivity level). According to VMware, Horizon uses this information to control access to applications and data, based on location and the capabilities of the end user’s device.
Analyst Gartner categorises technology like Project Horizon as a workspace aggregator, which unifies the delivery of desktops (local, full hosted virtual desktops or published desktops), applications (software as a service [SaaS], Windows, and native mobile) and data through a single user interface. Other companies offering this type of software include Centrix and Citrix.
The dramatic influx of mobile devices and applications is quickly subverting existing IT policy and management
Brett Waldman, senior research analyst, IDC
In its Hype Cycle for Virtualisation report, Gartner noted: “Workspace aggregators will enable IT organisations to better manage and control access to applications being consumed by their users.
Basic functions such as audit, security, single sign-on, dynamic provisioning, and licence reclamation are some of the functions that get enabled through a workspace aggregator.”
However, in the report, Gartner analysts Terrence Cosgrove, Nathan Hill and Federica Troni warned that current workspace aggregator software was still quite immature and products offered limited application support. The analysts also raised concerns over licensing and security in the current generation of product.