Ever since VMworld, there’s been chatter that VMware is looking to make a move in the UEM space. VMware bought RTO Software (well, select assets) for their Virtual Profiles product back in 2010, but that languished in OS support limbo for a long time before being partially included in VMware View. This was also back in the era when VMware didn’t want anything to do with Windows or Windows applications. But VMware’s attitude has changed since then, so it makes sense for them to look into adding a more comprehensive UEM solution.
Assuming these rumors have some basis in reality, VMware would have to decide whether they'll build or buy a product. While VMware could build their own solution, that takes a lot of time, and frankly they’re probably already consumed with Horizon 6 since it’s a v1 product. Plus there's the fact that there are many UEM solutions on the market and it’s pretty evident that VMware should try to just acquire a solution.
So who would they target? VMware is big enough that I can’t imagine anyone is excluded from the search right off the bat as being “too expensive.” Even AppSense is on the table in the early stages. The list also includes RES, Liquidware Labs, Immidio, Scense, and Norskale.
Whether or not AppSense and RES are actual targets depends on how deep VMware wants to get into the space. Both companies have large suites of products that do much more than classic UEM. If VMware wants to get into application and performance management in addition to UEM, AppSense might make it to the next round. Likewise, if they want an enterprise IT store or automation capabilities, RES would be in the mix. The thing is, VMware has technologies that are similar to all of those extra features, so I think both AppSense and RES are out of the question.
That leaves some of the smaller players like Liquidware Labs, Immidio, Scense, and Norskale. These solutions don’t carry the heavy backend requirements that AppSense and RES do. In the real world that might not matter as much though since customers just do the install once and then carry on. I can imagine VMware looking at it quite differently, though. More backend equals more integration hoops to jump through, so the fact that Liquidware, Immidio, Scense, and Norskale have comparatively fewer moving parts could be an asset.
Liquidware has the benefit of having not just ProfileUnity for UEM, but also Stratusphere FIT for doing assessments and Stratusphere UX for monitoring. VMware doesn’t likely need a monitoring solution, but the entire package might be appealing. They also have Flex-IO, but odds are VMware isn’t interested in storage optimization.
Immidio, Scense, and Norskale might be good fits because they are singularly-focused on UEM, and could be simpler to on-board. The same could be said for any of the companies if all the other components were ignored, but, these companies also have relatively small development teams that could be quickly incorporated into the VMware machine.
If VMware makes a move in the UEM space, I’d like to see them go with a straight-up UEM solution and leave AppSense and RES to handle the companies that need a bigger overall solution. Sticking to Immidio, Scense, Norskale, or even Liquidware makes sense. They don’t need another Virtual Profiles-esque issue where the integration took so long that few realized any benefit from it.
Of course, if VMware were to acquire RES or AppSense, that would be blockbuster news that would have our heads spinning thinking about how they’d integrate all the features, but I just don’t see that happening. What do you think?