VMware, long synonymous with servers, began its encroachment into mobile devices Tuesday with a new product and two new projects aimed at getting enterprise access onto mobile phones and tablets. All of this is preparation for the new way people work that VMware’ CEO Paul Martiz laid out in an interview at our Structure 2011 event and what Steve Herrod VMware’s CTO said last year during his VMworld keynote.
This time around, VMware has actual products and projects to show off. It launched a virtual desktop manager called VMware View 5 that will be available in the coming weeks and gets VMware into the desktop virtualization space. It also announced a mobile version of its Horizon product, which is like a combination app-store-and-clearing-house for corporate-approved applications. It said LG and Samsung are both working to offer Android devices that can support the Mobile Horizon product. LG has been working with VMware since December, and is supposed to have a product out this year. With that functionality on the handset or tablet, employees using VMware’s Horizon product could provision their handsets with all their corporate applications over the air.
Perhaps more exciting to the mobile user, because they will be available on devices such as phones and tablets that support HTML5, are Projects AppBlast and Octopus. Essentially, these look like ways to halt the consumerization trend that has swept the enterprise and put control back into corporate hands. From the release:
Project AppBlast will provide the universal delivery of any application, including Windows-based applications, to any device supporting HTML5, enabling instant remote access to applications without the heavy footprint of the underlying operating system. Project Octopus will leverage data sync technology from VMware Zimbra and Mozy to enable enterprise-grade collaboration and information/data sharing. Additionally, Project Octopus will offer easy integration with VMware Horizon, VMware View and Project AppBlast to create a secure enterprise cloud service. These two projects promise to dramatically simplify the access and sharing of information across people and mobile devices, contributing to the Connected Enterprise.
So Project Octopus is like DropBox and maybe Google Docs, only when tied to VMware’s Horizon offering it allows corporate IT departments to control who can access files. While enterprises will love the ability to control who can access their data, employees may not want to give up the ability to use their own tools and choose who they share their files with.
This approach combines the mobile virtualization efforts that we’ve covered in the past, where a phone would run two separate operating systems thanks to a hypervisor, with a way for an employee to access web services via the cloud on her personal device, while letting companies control what the employee can do with corporate apps and files. I’m hoping we’ll hear more when VMware CTO Steve Herrod gets onstage at our Mobilize 2011 event on Sept. 26 and 27 in San Francisco.