Based on Synergy & BriForum, App Refactoring & App Management are two of the biggest trends in 2015

It's hard not to focus on desktops in a space we call "Desktop Virtualization," but the reality is that we still put more emphasis on the apps than we do on the desktop.

The more things change…

It’s hard not to focus on desktops in a space we call “Desktop Virtualization,” but the reality is that we still put more emphasis on the apps than we do on the desktop. If that wasn't clear before, it should be now after Citrix Synergy and BriForum London, where application-focused products were the darlings of the expo floor. Both app refactoring and app management garnered a lot of interest, even winning awards at Citrix Synergy. We even have several BriForum sessions spread across the London and Denver shows about each of them.

Application Management

App management has never been hotter as customers start to realize that there are better ways than App-V to manage enterprise apps. App-V has its place in the world when you need the streaming or isolation capabilities, but if all you’re trying to do is get a grip on who has which apps installed on their machine, there is no shortage of products that purpose-built for the task (and therefore much easier to use).

At Synergy, FSLogix won the Best of Synergy award in the Desktop Virtualization category for their application management platform. We’ve covered them before, but they’ve made a lot of important updates in the last year, so we owe them another look in the coming weeks. At BriForum there were three sponsors that were specifically selling application management platforms: FSLogix, Ceedo, and CloudHouse, not to mention the offerings from other sponsors like VMware and AppSense. We even had a “Smackdown” session that featured a comparison of Unidesk, VMware, and FSLogix. The list of companies doing something around application management is getting long (and I’m sure there are more!):

  • AppSense
  • Ceedo
  • CloudHouse
  • FSLogix
  • Liquidware Labs
  • Numecent
  • RES
  • Spoon
  • Unidesk
  • VMware

Obviously, some of these companies are more application-focused than others. Ceedo, CloudHouse, FSLogix, Numecent, Unidesk, and Spoon make their entire livings based on applications and layering, while the others offer some sort of application management in addition to other things. Citrix is also about to enter the fray with Citrix AppDisk, though we’re into mid-June now and I haven’t heard anything about the “limited Tech Preview” that’s supposed to come in Q2. Frankly, with all of these companies already selling viable products, why wouldn’t Citrix make a move to acquire one of them instead of making their own? I’ll wait for the Tech Preview before writing that article, though.

App Refactoring

The other application-oriented solution that grabbed a lot of attention this year was app refactoring (which we've covered a lot). I spoke to both Reddo Mobility and Powwow at Citrix Synergy, and both had a great show. In fact, Reddo won the Best of Synergy award for Best New Product. I was in the deliberation room, and they were both in the mix in the Mobility category, too. Reddo also had a lot of attendees talking about them at BriForum London.

The fact is that we rely on Windows apps so much that we can’t easily move off of them. We depend on the data more than the UI, but writing an app that leverages that data with a completely new UI for a completely different platform is hard, expensive work. App refactoring companies are making it easier to leverage the existing Windows applications and the data without having to rewrite anything or having access to the source code, with the end result being a mobile interface and mobile workflow to the exact same Windows application and data.

We find ourselves covering several of these companies too, like:

  • Capriza
  • Powwow
  • Reddo Mobility
  • Star Mobile

There’s so much activity in these two areas, which makes it a lot of fun to cover. I’m certain that there’s going to be an acquisition or two in both areas in the coming months, though exactly which companies go where is still up for debate.

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Is app refactoring really a thing yet?

It's fantastically cool technology, but I don't know anyone who is using yet.