VMware is pitching a new approach to enterprise customers for managing endpoint devices that focuses on the apps users require access to, using a combination of its AirWatch platform and the App Volumes application delivery technology.
Unveiled at the firm's VMworld conference in San Francisco, Project A2 is currently at the technology preview stage, but showcases the ability to change the way Windows management operates by shifting from a focus on endpoint devices to the applications instead. The firm gave no indication of when the product will ship.
VMware said that the introduction of Windows 10 will drive a major industry shift owing to its cloud and mobile focus, and the firm sees the opportunity to help customers transition to a new way of managing Windows as firms migrate to the new platform.
Project A2 is intended to speed the adoption of Windows 10 by eliminating the costly and complex process of managing and upgrading Windows PCs and their associated applications, VMware said. It accomplishes this using AirWatch enterprise mobility management coupled with the App Volumes technology the firm gained from its acquisition of CloudVolumes last year.
"Most of our current customers deploy and manage Windows images and distribute applications as part of the image updates or via tools that are used in concert with image management," said Sumit Dhawan, senior vice president and general manager for desktop products and end-user computing at VMware.
The problem with this approach is that it can lead to difficulties in managing application lifecycles, particularly when updates and rollbacks are called for, he said.
"This is why we announced Project A2, a solution that has two key components: VMware App Volumes for real-time delivery and management of applications; and AirWatch for managing Windows 10 environments and devices. The two work together to provide a compounded and multiplicative benefit to our customers, hence the name A2," Dhawan explained on VMware's End-User Computing Blog.
App Volumes packages applications into virtual disk images that contain everything needed to run that application. An App Volume agent on the target endpoint mounts this virtual disk and merges the content into the endpoint's file system so the application is effectively installed for the duration of the session.
VMware said that this approach will provide IT teams with a uniform management experience for Windows 10 desktop devices and mobile devices, whether these are company-owned or employee-owned as part of a bring your own device scheme. It will also deliver a consistent end-user mobile workspace that provides access to all applications, including Windows, SaaS and mobile.
Project A2 thus adds management and provisioning of Windows desktops and laptops to VMware's growing portfolio of end user computing tools, which have so far focused on virtualisation in the form of hosted virtual desktop infrastructure or deploying managed virtual machines onto endpoint devices.
VMware detailed plans earlier this year to integrate its Horizon platform for delivering desktops and applications with AirWatch into a single offering.
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