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It’s Time to Solve IT’s Windows Software Distribution Challenges

  • Aditya Kunduri By

PC lifecycle management (PCLM) was originally designed for PCs moored to the corporate network. It has not changed much in decades—until the introduction of unified endpoint management (UEM).

UEM technology—a pillar for our VMware AirWatch 9.2 console release—extends the concepts of enterprise mobility management (EMM) to not only meet the requirements of traditional PCLM but also to update the entire PC management model. This modern management technology (API-driven, real-time, over-the-air) unifies desktop and mobile management, which significantly benefits PCLM. This, according to industry analysts, is the right model going forward for better manageability, greater security and lower costs.

Migrating to Windows 10 and adopting this modern management model is the first step toward realizing these benefits. However, without robust desktop management capabilities, challenges will remain for organizations planning to migrate their traditional PCLM functions to a modern UEM solution.

One of the biggest functional challenges I want to address today is something we’ve constantly heard from customers:

“EMM solutions have limited abilities to distribute and manage Win32 applications.”

Many of these Windows applications are traditional x86/x64 apps, which can be several GBs in size and often go through complex packaging and installation—tasks that are not supported natively by EMM solutions. Because of this, many organizations stick with traditional PCLM, with its own set of challenges:

  • Organizations mostly rely on costly management and distribution servers, located at every branch office or remote site, to package and deploy apps to every endpoint.
  • The hierarchical, parent-child site architecture results in hundreds to thousands of servers, which are both capital- and labor-intensive—and require dedicated teams to maintain.
  • This complex, on-premises architecture creates multiple points of failure that IT must deal with, as well as significant troubleshooting time to resolve unsuccessful deployments.
  • User experience takes a back seat. With low deployment success rates through a deep server hierarchy, branch workers still face latency issues at server-less sites where clients must traverse back to the content source. In most cases, remote workers are unable to securely access apps without a VPN connection.

VMware AirWatch Takes Major Leap Towards Solving IT’s Software Distribution Challenges

With the release of AirWatch 9.2 Feature Pack 1 (FP1), we are excited to introduce a Peer Distribution Client in AirWatch. The VMware Peer Distribution Client combines the benefits of two of the industry’s leading technologies: AirWatch UEM and Adaptiva OneSite™ breakthrough peer-to-peer (P2P) content distribution technology.

The combined solution finally puts an end to organizations’ software distribution challenges with key functionality, including:

  1. A cloud-based software deployment to reach remote users and sites that are not always connected to the company network.
  2. An efficient software distribution across branch offices that reduces bandwidth, infrastructure and labor costs, while delivering a peak user experience.

Scale Across Every Endpoint

Organizations today overwhelmingly favor cloud-based software deployments over traditional, on-premises software distribution infrastructure.

AirWatch features a global content delivery network (CDN) for scalable, more reliable internet transport of large Windows apps to remote users and sites. With this global CDN, IT can upload app packages, manage the app lifecycle and reliably deploy these apps to users anywhere, bridging the Win32 app distribution gap.

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Optimize Delivery for Branch Offices

True, robust UEM addresses the challenges of the heavy infrastructure and bandwidth required to deploy large Win32 apps to branch office PCs. The Peer Distribution Client strengthens existing AirWatch software lifecycle management capabilities, to the benefit of IT and end users:

  • Eliminate server infrastructure: With the combination of our cloud CDN and Adaptiva OneSite’s zero footprint caching technology, organizations can eliminate the costs associated with on-premises distribution servers and storage infrastructure. Instead of storing data in distribution nodes, the caching technology enables software delivered via AirWatch to be cached in unused space of the peer or client PC (users retain full utilization of the unused space).
  • Improve bandwidth utilization: P2P caching and local deduplication ensures no content is downloaded twice from the CDN. Instead, files that currently exist on a local machine or a peer’s file system are distributed locally to any other peer requesting the same content. Bandwidth is utilized perfectly, with full de-duplication, speeding up deployments by order of magnitude.
  • Increase speed and reliability: Since data is distributed locally between peers, branch office users receive apps and updates faster and at LAN speeds within the subnet. Multiple copies of cached content also ensure redundancy and reliable delivery of software.
  • Reduce administrative overheads: Innovations in AirWatch software lifecycle management reduce many of the complexities of packaging and distribution of traditional Win32 apps. Moreover, by moving to a cloud-first management and software delivery model with zero-server footprint, organizations can eliminate any administrative overheads associated with maintaining and constantly updating these countless management servers.

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We are clearly excited about our partnership with Adaptiva and about helping our mutual customers meet their Windows 10 and UEM goals. I encourage you to join us on our upcoming webinar featuring VMware Director of Product Management for AirWatch and Windows 10, Jason Roszak, and Adaptiva Founder and CTO, Deepak Kumar. You’ll learn how AirWatch UEM with  P2P technology solves the challenges of Win32 software distribution without the need for costly distribution infrastructure.

Register for the webinar, Nov. 14, with AirWatch and Adaptiva: “Manage Windows 10 from the Cloud at Enterprise Speed and Scale.”

Aditya Kunduri

Aditya Kunduri

Aditya Kunduri is the product marketing manager for Microsoft platforms at VMware AirWatch.

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