VMware will later this year deliver a single end user computing platform that integrates its AirWatch management tool and Horizon platform for delivering desktops and applications from vSphere-based infrastructure into a single offering.
The move is intended to further assist customers struggling to integrate mobile devices into the enterprise alongside traditional clients such as PCs.
While VMware is best known for its virtualisation technology and cloud computing platforms, the firm has long had an interest in the client-side of computing. Over the past few years, the firm has been working to marry the two together to provide enterprise customers with a data centre software stack that can meet all their compute requirements.
This has been spurred on by the growing trend towards enterprise mobility and users expecting to be able to choose their own device to bring into the workplace, according to Alistair Wildman, director of end user computing for VMware in EMEA.
"In the marketplace, there are lots of new devices coming out, including wearables that are really interesting for business. People want to use iPads and smartphones and they are bringing them into the workplace, so companies are asking how they allow workers to choose their own device and still provide access to legacy applications," he told V3.
VMware has been addressing this through its Horizon platform, which delivers a virtual desktop or published applications onto multiple device platforms, but the firm also acquired enterprise mobility provider AirWatch in 2014 to bolster its management capabilities.
"Those two are becoming a single platform. By the third quarter of this year, there will be a single platform to let you manage all your devices," Wildman said.
VMware's aim is not just to let customers squeeze more value out of the investments in data centre infrastructure they have built up around vSphere, but also to provide a solution to the data security headache that organisations are facing with the growing use of mobile devices for work.
"VMware's role is that of a security company. We may not look like a security company, but we can now secure the devices, secure the data on the devices, and we secure the access to the device so that the network knows who you are, it knows what role you have, and it knows which applications you have access to," Wildman explained.
VMware's vision, which Wildman conceded is not quite in place yet, is that if a user walks into the office, the network will recognise and authenticate them, provision the desktop they need and push down the applications they have access to, whether they are using a phone, tablet or PC.
"The fact that this is built on vSphere means that we can link the desktop and mobile technology to the infrastructure in the data centre and do serve-based computing, we can do app publishing, we can do app-wrapping. Whatever you need to get the application to that device, we can do it at the back end, and at the front end we manage it all using AirWatch," he said.
VMware has previously claimed that Horizon brings the cost of supporting virtual desktops down to a level where it is comparable with that of operating physical desktop PCs, and with AirWatch integration, it will make it more convenient for customers to support a range of mobile client devices.
"The role of IT is changing, and one of the big drivers we are seeing is that the range of devices and applications in use is increasing. Companies need to keep up with the times," Wildman said.
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