VMworld 2011 kicked off in Las Vegas last night with an opening keynote from CEO Paul Maritz. While Paul didn't talk too much about the desktop--I heard one person suggest that the desktop at VMware has "middle child syndrome"--VMware did announce several desktop-specific things. So let's take a quick look at all of VMware's desktop announcements here, and then we'll discuss these via our Brian & Gabe LIVE radio shows and videos this week. Then next week when things calm down we'll write a full proper article for each one.
So what's new?
- VMware Horizon App Manager will support Windows apps via ThinApp
- The mobile phone hypervisor, MVP, will be Horizon Mobile
- View 5
VMware Horizon App Manager - Now for Windows apps via ThinApp
We've written quite a bit about VMware Horizon, but if you could sum up my feelings in a single tweet, it would be, "I love the vision for Horizon, but the product is very limited in this 'v1' state." But today VMware is announcing that you can now use Horizon to deploy ThinApp packages. (This coincides with the 4.6.2 release of ThinApp.)
The basic idea is that you make a small configuration change and add a DLL to your ThinApp package which will allow it to be managed by Horizon. Then you point your Horizon environment to your repository of ThinApp packages, and Horizon scans them all and pulls out the metadata (names, descriptions, icons, etc.). From there you can add them to your Horizon app catalog and assign them to users, allow them to self-provision, etc.
This finally provides a much-needed (and pretty cool) management and delivery mechanism for ThinApp, and to be honest I can see a lot of people using Horizon just for the ThinApp capability. (And then once they do, imagine how easy it will be for them to also add web apps here and there.. I mean it's free at that point, so why not?)
And in what's maybe the best part of this, the ThinApp team built the entire Horizon integration using the normal Horizon APIs. So there's no proprietary back-door integration happening.
Right now VMware is just focusing on using this with View desktops, but they plan to eventually extend that to all Windows desktop environments.
Details about VMware MVP, the mobile phone hypervisor
It's been almost three years VMware bought mobile phone hypervisor company Trango. I initially thought this was a stupid idea. "Why would anyone what a hypervisor on their mobile phone?" Well luckily VMware doesn't take my advice, because it seems like the mobile phone hypervisor will be pretty awesome.
What's great is that VMware is building this thing like a Type 2 hypervisor. The idea is that you have whatever phone you want with a native OS which is the "personal" environment. (Today this is Android-only for VMware.) Then you have a second Android OS instance that runs in a VM on top of the native OS. (This is the "corporate" environment.) The corporate VM can run a different version of the Android OS from the personal one, and it can be totally controlled by the IT department. In fact in this scenario VMware acts like a handset provider, except they deliver a VM instead of a phone.
The corporate VM can be connected to a VPN while the personal environment is not. All of the apps and encryption can be controlled by IT. And as Paul mentioned on stage, if the user downloads a hacked copy of Angry Birds, there's no way that app can get to the corporate contact list for spamming fun.
This concept is great because it helps VMware deal with the fracturing of the Android market. It's compatible with any Android apps and runs at full native speed. (I'll try to grab some video this week because it's pretty cool.)
And finally, VMware is branding this as "Horizon Mobile," which I hope means that you'll just get access to it for your standard $30 per user, per year Horizon subscription. (Although the current Horizon product is "Horizon App Manager," and this is "Horizon Mobile," so who knows?
So what do you think? These announcements should get us started for the week. We'll get our full analysis of all this and more from VMorld next week.