If VMware wants into UEM space, should they build or buy? A look at who they might target and why.

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.

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?

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IMHO, I think Liquidware is next to get gobbled up.  They are already VMW's preferred profile solution that they tout and it's a good product.  Strastophere will likely get somehow rolled into vcops, I could see a seperate tab for in session metrics or such.  FlexIO is a direct competitor to VSAN for VDI which VMW doesn't need at all since they want to push vsan for all workloads and flexio only handles VDI workload.  Very cool product though, I did the beta about a year ago, but it lacked some critical features for me such as vmotion (it was a deal breaker), so I am going with Infinio, which is another amazing product.  


5) Consider other benefits you get like consistency across desktops architectures, and how UEM may fit into your future plans and assign some value here.

Based on these questions, I don’t believe UEM holds the same value it did once for the majority. The big suites are a big commitment and require a lot of heavy lifting and investment to run at scale. I don’t believe most people get the return they hope for and end up spending more running the infrastructure than they reap in benefit. The smaller players may be good enough for many, but for the enterprise I think people are better off building on top of these types of solutions or just building their own as most likely there are very specific use cases that really add value. (consider answer to question 2 again)

Ok, that’s objective me talking, now gossip me speculating on what will happen.

Traditionally VMware has had no clue about desktop. Cue memories of former clueless VMware CTO describing the desktop as a file, amongst his many screw-ups.  However, with their recent string of hires of people with a clue, I have no doubt they are intimately aware of what I wrote above. It’s really a question of if they believe UEM is a separate business vs. a feature to replace RTO persona.

If they believe it’s a new line of business, I am sure they will hands down pick AppSense over RES. AppSense has far more traction and is more focused on UEM than RES who are trying to pivot to do IT automation, which I don’t believe fits with what VMware would try to do. It would also be a nice blow to Citrix who many have urged to simply buy AppSense for years. I’m not sure the recent fall out confirming the AppSense Chairman as a liar

www.dailymail.co.uk/.../Ex-wife-wins-right-divorce-battle-Supreme-Court-bid-larger-share-software-entrepreneur-s-150m-fortune.html will make any impact, but I do think AppSense should fire him to remove doubt and he should man up and step down regardless. No doubt who ever the employee rant was from last year, seems to have called a spade a spade. https://twitter.com/cshaftland If VMware does decide to go down the AppSense path, I am sure there will be some fun headlines. “VMware buys UEM Company from the English court system.” Regardless, if this were the direction, good luck to AppSense, RES would be a mistake.

If the strategy is one of the smaller players, I think the choice is one of compromises. Norskale at $38 seems to still be a one man band, so not sure how baked it is. Immidio based on Flex Profiles is probably more baked, but again I bet it’s a very small and limited. Liquidware labs, will make a lot of BS claims, produce crap technology and fringe bolt on stuff they offer is not something an enterprise customer will pay for.

So I agree with Gabe. I think this will most likely be a RTO persona replacement play, and we’ll end up with UEM light and the likes of AppSense/RES will have to take UEM to the next level quickly, which they have failed to do to date. It’s also why I think articles www.brianmadden.com/.../what-s-new-in-appsense-desktopnow-and-why-this-is-their-most-important-release-in-years.aspx

written about it’s a good thing that AppSense are going back to desktop are wrong even though I agree with steadying the ship points made. The problem is failing to understand, which ship you are on and moving the world forward quickly.


Adding in the first part of my response that I screwed up the copy and paste on.

Before considering UEM, I think it’s important to ask yourself five key questions.

1) How do you currently manage GPO/Profiles/App settings across your physical and virtual environments? (This will give you a good sense of complexity you currently manage and cost).

2) Do you need a better solution for all of these categories, across all environments? Answering question one should give you an idea of the cost you can absorb. Also consider categories from the UEM suite vendors like automation and rights management and value what they are worth to you given your pain points.

3) What is the infrastructure you need to set this up and scale to what ever your size is?

4) How many people do you need to manage this way, from an infrastructure, configuration and management perspective? Is it the same people? Do they have the skills? What is the cost to train or hire additional people?


@appdetective It is unfortunate that your loud mouth continues this trail of false claims. Having deployed Liquidware Labs as an enterprise customer (who paid for it) I must comment on the fact that your negativity towards LWL can only be explained by your SHILLING for a competitor. Also, they are not the little guy at all – and it’s a shame you, brian, and gabe never give them their props. Comical that you consider deployments like Buffalo Public Schools, second largest school district in New York State serving approximately 35,000 students and one of the largest VMware Horizon View installations to date, small.

Anyone who has been deploying EUC solutions at scale for some time knows that we desperately need a UEM solution within VMware to complete the vision. There is true power within new methods such as AppVolumes to deliver applications; however any solution that provides application containerization or layering will still require management of the user environment in order to provide a great user experience.

My take on this is, without a great user experience there is no success. In “the real world” having delivered EUC solutions which included UEM for many large enterprises, education, commercial and local and federal governments, I found a common theme among them all – better user management has always been their path to success; but a goal always was to provide a great user experience.

IT’s super script to fix the world is losing significance. To be clear I do not see the value scripts bring going away all together, I’ve written my fair share and know the business process they can drive/fix, not to mention the sentimental value they hold to IT admins; however these scripts alone have limiting factors, although when joined in concert with a proper UEM tool they add significant value to VMware’s Horizon solution making them a force to be reckoned with.

A force to be reckoned with…I have been deploying VMware’s EUC technology since VDM 2.0 and lived through some very trying times as a customer. The most difficult time was during the acquisition of RTO, which Gabe mentioned. This was a very small acquisition compared to those of recent days but it had major impact when it did not go well. RTO was a very small company with little if no market share. There was no channel representation and the VMware field knew little if nothing about them, therefore creating difficulty for partners to move us customers to that technology and for us as customers to adopt it. In the end it was a tactical decision to fill a gap and check a box which pushed customers to adopt 3rd party strategies to complete the VMware story. I look forward to what VMware does in the UEM space and hope that they get it right this time or I fear the day of reckoning will be knocking at the door.

IMHO if you don’t have visibility to the user experience then you can’t manage to it with UEM. Keep your egos in check—stay objective.


@Brian Roets let’s take a look at your claims.

- LWL is big. You are confusing scale with size of company.  They are a small player, show me a single piece of data to show otherwise. AppSense is $100M revenue plus, RES is a little smaller, but still north of $50M. LWL I doubt makes even $10M a year. Hence small.

- Your 35K deployment. Don’t confuse that with scale. Sure I can deploy a simple use case to many, but that does not mean it will scale in a complex enterprise with hugely varied use cases. It’s also doesn’t mean, just because you did it, that it’s the only or best way to do it. Stay open minded…

- I don’t think anybody will argue with you that, “without a great user experience there is no success.” But to then claim that a UEM tool is required by everybody to achieve that is just plain horse sh1t.  UEM tools crashing can make the desktop even crappier than they are today and can add tons of complexity if you are not ready for it. There is a lot more to UX than UEM. This is why I put down 5 questions to help folks have an intelligent discussion on why, if, how much UEM they need.  Many ways to achieve good user management. Feel free to add more questions that are vendor neutral and seriously stop with the vendor sales pitch. Are LWL that desperate to sell?

- “App containers will require UEM.” I don’t think that is true either if your use case is simple. Doesn’t App Volumes have writable mode to allow for configuration storage? If so, what value does UEM have? Manage those configurations, sure value there, but how much, see my questions. May be a lot, may be little, it depends.

- “IT super script…losing significance.” Yes and no. Crappy ones sure, as they are hacks that can’t be maintained. But web services to manage infrastructure and scripts to call services is on the rise, further marginalizing UEM tools.

- Your resume. Not sure why I care or what it has got to do with VMware doing anything in this space. I think they could do just fine buying AppSense or one of the smaller players including LWL.

- Whining about love for LWL. Perhaps it’s got something to do with their technology claims.  Too often BS and nobody believes LWL is doing anything but building a company to sell to VMware, which inspires little confidence in their viability.

- Judgment day. “I fear the day of reckoning will be knocking at the door.” Most interesting thing you said. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one.

- So nothing to do with ego, just my view that you are welcome to challenge. Just sharing what I think and cutting through vendor inspired BS.  You have not provided evidence of anything for me to see things differently. Is it snowing in Buffalo yet?


@brianroets I completely agree with most you say but the UEM solution doesn’t necessarily have to come from Liquidwarelabs. Over the past period a lot of brainpower joined VMware EUC and I am confident that they will make the right choices. I guess they will look for the best technology out there and also consider things like ease of integration, simplicity, revenues and customers.  Looking at EUC’s objectives, I wouldn’t be surprised if it is going to be a UEM vendor with a huge Citrix customer base.


@peterkramer completely agree that the team at VMware is stacked at the moment. What concerns me is another failed attempt at UEM. I do not believe the solution has to come from LwL, but I want to see integration that can occur fast in this space. @nickcasa talking about VMware touting LwL speaks to the strong partnership with VMware's Elite TAP's. Interesting idea to grab Citrix customer base through an acquisition, possible but I wonder if the cost to acquire that large of a base will deter them...but who knows, VMware EUC has a lot of juice at the moment, anything is possible.

@appdetective don't disagree that your list prompts a good discussion for anyone looking at changing their EUC strategy. 6) What are users doing with the technology you are providing them today? Seems 101 but IT rarely asks themselves this question, typically because they don't know due to lack of visibility. if you don't know then how can you identify what can work where and for whom.

- Not arguing that they are as big as other players just stating that they are deployed in the Enterprise space and implemented in some very large environments.

- UEM is not required by everyone, but for most, to provide an environment that is always working its a great tool to use as a part of an overall solution. Not pitching here just speaking from what I have seen and done in this space.  

- Never said my way was the only way to do it...if it was there would be no conversation and I would have you implanted with a voicebox and be my Vader.

-if you would like to hear about judgement day and the weather in Upstate NY send me an e-mail and we can have a call.


Gabe you were right.

VMware are acquiring Immidio. Its on Tech Target News today.