By Jennifer LeClaire / Data Storage Today. Updated April 09, 2014.
It's a new Horizon at VMware -- quite literally. The virtualization and cloud infrastructure company just unveiled Horizon 6, which delivers published apps and desktops on a single platform.
Virtual Desktop Infrastructure competitor Citrix may take issue with VMware's marketing, which touts Horizon 6 as the industry's most comprehensive desktop solution. Horizon 6 promises centralized management of any type of enterprise application and desktop, spanning laptops, physical desktops, applications and even employee-owned PCs.
"Customers want to transform their applications and enterprise desktops for the Mobile Cloud Era -- extending access to employees on any device, from anywhere via a comprehensive solution that is simple, secure and cost effective," said Sumit Dhawan, vice president and general manager of Desktop Products, End-User Computing, at VMware. He's convinced VMware Horizon 6 fills the bill, calling it a "product milestone" that "helps customers take the next step in their desktop journey."
Governance and Compliance
VMware's market research makes the company confident that multiple access points such as laptops, tablets, smartphones -- and a range of other employee-owned devices -- are putting pressure on IT departments to deliver better service and access. In response, VMware said it has improved Horizon on several levels, including application delivery, storage optimization, data-center-to-device management, and flexible hybrid delivery.
Specifically, VMware Horizon 6 introduces new features and functions integrated into a single solution that offers a more streamlined approach for IT admins charged with managing Windows applications and desktops. Because enterprise applications and Windows operating systems are centrally managed, Horizon 6 makes it possible for IT to make updates in an agile and predictable manner.
"Governance and compliance can only work if end-users stay within the confines of IT, but end-users are savvy with more options than ever before to work outside the purview of IT," said Brett Waldman, research manager of End-User Computing at market research firm IDC. "If IT can provide the resources, capabilities and support end-users need, they will be less likely to stray, so IT needs vendors, such as VMware, to provide simpler, more agile solutions. With VMware Horizon 6's new ability to deliver published applications in addition to virtual desktops, IT can deliver just what end-users need, or -- more importantly -- want."
Still Needed: NAC
One of the new capabilities in VMware Horizon 6 is the VMware vCenter Operations for View, which offers health and risk monitoring, proactive end-user experience monitoring and diagnostics from data-center-to-device in one console. Horizon 6 also offers a new client that connects to virtual desktops and applications running in an on-premise cloud, a service provider partner cloud, or through VMware vCloud Hybrid Service.
We caught up with Zeus Kerravala, a principal analyst at ZK Research, to get his take on the rollout. He told us Horizon 6 brings together VMware's traditional desktop virtualization platform with the mobile device management (MDM) solution it grabbed in the AirWatch acquisition. VMware bought AirWatch for $1.54 billion in January.
"I still think VMware could use a Network Access Control," Kerravala said. "NAC would allow them to not only protect the network more but also configure policy endpoints."
VMware Horizon 6 is expected to be available this quarter. The technology is licensed per named user or per concurrent user, with prices starting at $250.