AppSense has made a few announcements in the last week or so, not to mention a development that hasn't been officially announced. Via twitter on Monday, CTO Harry Labana announced that it was his last day at AppSense, saying:
This seems to have taken people by surprise, as nobody I spoke with knew anything about this. In fact, Harry's tweet earlier in the day doesn't sound like that of a guy on his last day:
Who comes back from vacation to dig out of mountains of paperwork before quitting? The official statement from AppSense, sent to me via email on Tuesday, didn't shed any new light, except to say that Harry has "decided to explore new technology ventures." For the time being, Keith Turnbull will head the CTO office while looking for a replacement. Whatever the case may be, good luck to Harry and to AppSense moving forward.
Now, on to the product news!
In what amounts to a minor update for StrataApps, AppSense has added the ability to make the user layer portable via cloud storage solutions or thumb drives. This is actually kind of cool, because you could conceivably bring your user experience everywhere through pretty much any method. Hell, you could probably email it to yourself. Applications can also be grouped together and deployed as packages, say, for departments. That way you can deploy the "Accounting" group of applications to the Accounting department, or the "Legal" group of apps to the Legal department.
Also noteworthy is that, while the releases and marketing say that it now supports 100 apps, that only represents the number of applications that AppSense has officially tested and supports. In reality, around 8000 apps have been installed with StrataApps, so if you don't need kernel driver support, it might work for you.
I asked about the timeline for rolling StrataApps into the mainline AppSense product suite, and while I didn't get a date, I was told that they are still confirming the base technology and application support. That "100 apps supported" number is probably more for them than it is for us since they use it as a measuring stick to test the maturity of the technology. They're also waiting for development of management components and policies that can be on par with the rest of the AppSense offerings. So, when you start to see those features pop into StrataApps, a productized version isn't far behind. Until then, StrataApps remains free.
DataNow Released, added to UVP
Back in March, Harry Labana came on Brian & Gabe LIVE to announce Project Orca, which became DataNow. Jack was able to catch up with them at MMS in April to get a look at a beta. For lack of a better term, DataNow is like a corporate, datacenter-hosted Dropbox. Some might call it Mobile Information Management (MIM), others, like AppSense, call it an Enterprise Data Broker. Regardless, DataNow aims to securely connect users on PCs, Macs, and mobile devices to their data while letting IT retain control over that information.
Yesterday, AppSense announced DataNow Essentials, which plugs into your environment as a virtual appliance. You leave your data where it sits currently, and tell DataNow where the data lives. That way implementing isn't a massive project (like moving to Box, Dropbox, or ShareFile would be) where file locations, relative references, etc… sometimes need to be the same across the company. Obviously, once you move all the data for all the users and connect all the users to that data it becomes a non-issue, but DataNow Essentials addresses a problem that people tend to learn about after they start.
DataNow Essentials is now part of AppSense User Virtualization Platform, and is included at no extra charge. We'll stop by their booth at VMworld to check out what's going on, so stay tuned next week for demos and the like.