Back in April, I blogged about how we’re thinking of bringing VMware and AirWatch together, outlining our broad vision and high-level architecture for how to conceptualize the integration. The original blog was well-received by customers and partners alike, who were happy to see that VMware is committed to moving quickly on integrating the great new technologies of AirWatch with VMware’s EUC products. At the same time, customers and partners were hungry for more details on the specific integrations we are looking to do.
We’ve been hard at work over the past few months locking down exactly what our first integration points should be, and we’re excited to share our thinking with you. Before we dive in, here’s our updated high-level architecture, revised a bit since the previous blog:
The last post was focused first on showing how mobile and desktop are siloed today, and second on how we can bring mobile and desktop together. In this note, we’ll be looking forward, sharing our plans for delivering an integrated experience for users and administrators easier. Firstly, we want end-users to have a beautiful, no compromise experience regardless of what app they’re accessing or what device they’re using. Specifically, users should have a simple “one click” experience, without the need for entering usernames and passwords, or requiring a separate VPN connection to access internal resources. Also, we focus on a common set of functionalities and features that can apply consistently to all platforms – app management, content management and device management. Similarly, there should be common functions – like identity, network access control, and social – that should be integrated across our product set to ensure a consistent user experience across the suite.
To accomplish this, we have identified seven areas of focus for product integrations:
We’ll take a deeper look at each of these integrations. First let’s talk about the integrations that benefit end-users, and then discuss integrations that will provide relief for admins.
As we mentioned above, end-users expect a great experience when accessing corporate apps and data, and they expect to be able to bring in the device of their choice, but they want consistency in their experience. The following integrations help achieve those goals:
1. Unified Enterprise app store
The app catalog is the central catalog of all end-user apps and services for an organization or business. Users access the store (a subset of all apps in the catalog) to see the apps they’re entitled to and can then subscribe their favorite apps with appropriate approvals, and access them via launchers or icons on their desktop or spring board. Today we have app stores in two products – VMware Workspace Portal and AirWatch – and our approach is to first cross-populate apps so that each store has a complete view, and then rapidly bring them together into a single app store.
2. Common identity and authentication
A common identity and authentication system is key to enabling seamless access to the resources a user wants to use. In fact, today’s users expect single-sign on from any device. Our Workspace Portal has a powerful identity engine and we envision this becoming the core identity and authentication system for all EUC products.
3. File sync and share from any device
Ubiquitous access to corporate files and data is another requirement of users today. At the same time, admins require powerful security and DLP policies. AirWatch Secure Content Locker (SCL) provides a strong enterprise file sync and share (EFSS) foundation and, as we have shared previously, we will be deprecating Horizon Data and are looking to consolidate Horizon Data functionality into AirWatch SCL.
4. Integrated social
As we talked about in the integration blog back in April, we see social as being not just a place you go, but also a property of things. For that reason, we believe Social should be embedded in all end-user systems. The initial area of focus for us is around connecting EFSS and social, specifically integrating the social capabilities in Socialcast to SCL. For instance, users should be able to create ad-hoc discussion groups based on a file or set of files. Users should also be able to see how often one of their files is being viewed and by whom. This capability would help connect users in a new way and enhance productivity.
We believe that these four integration points will give end users a fantastic experience on the device of their choice by providing new levels of simplification and ease of use.
Let’s now turn our attention to admins. Admins are looking for consistency and automation in how they manage, especially as more and more heterogeneous devices flood into the workplace. This puts greater pressure on the IT team to meet end-user demands, so reducing complexity is a must. We’re focusing on the following integrations to help the admin:
5. Unified device policy management
Our customers have always been extremely impressed with the AirWatch’s device policy management. AirWatch has a powerful policy system that allows admins to easily manage many different types of mobile devices, all from a single admin UI. We’re excited by the opportunity to apply that simple policy management model to desktops as well. Specifically, we want to enable admins to manage policies for desktops like controlling use of the camera or USB redirection, automatically configuring Wi-Fi or e-mail settings, and much more through simple checkboxes in the AirWatch policy framework. We can see these capabilities providing huge benefits for admins, as they’ll be able to manage all of their device policies easily and in one place.
6. Automation and governance
As the number of devices in the workplace continues to grow faster than IT budgets, automation, orchestration, and governance will become increasingly important to enable IT to meet the demands of the business. In particular, our customers have embraced vCloud Automation Center (vCAC) because it enables them to provide automated self-service capabilities to their users while still maintaining necessary controls. Today vCAC helps customers with their server workloads, but we think it makes sense to extend the product’s capabilities to support desktop and mobile workloads as well. In fact, Horizon 6 includes an initial vCAC integration for self-service provisioning of desktops. We plan to expand that integration to more fully cover desktop and mobile use cases.
7. Common access point
As end-user computing services proliferate, it can become harder and harder for IT to ensure it has correctly implemented all of the required network security and access policies. Typically each enterprise service has a separate gateway or access point that allows end-user devices out on the Internet to connect with those enterprise services, which are often behind the firewall. However, it is common for each access point to have its own set of policies and configuration. This makes it difficult for IT to ensure consistency across the different services, creating potential inconsistency in both network security as well as end-user experience across devices and services. The goal here is to have a common access point for mobile, desktop, social, and more that enables centralized policy definition and enforcement, and therefore a simple and consistent end-user experience. This access point will continue to interoperate with customer’s existing gateways from partners such as F5.
As we talk with customers, these three areas came up as major pain points in the end-user computing administrative experience. Just as with the integrations focused on end-users, we’re excited to bring new levels of simplification to the admin experience.
The plan for these integrations is to move quickly and release functionality early and often, continually iterating and deepening the integrations over time. We’re eager to bring these innovations to market to enable our customers – both the admins managing these systems as well as the end-users interacting with them. Expect to hear a lot more about our plans at VMworld 2014, taking place August 24-28 in San Francisco!
Which of these integrations would be most beneficial your business or your role? Are there others you think would be valuable that are not on our initial list? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.
This article originally appeared on the VMware Office of the CTO blog.