Earlier in the week VMware unveiled its new capabilities in the end user computing (EUC) space, VMware’s offerings in the space of virtual desktop integration.
So let’s take apart the press release in our customary style – it can be found here:
PALO ALTO, Calif. – Feb. 9, 2016 – VMware, Inc. (NYSE: VMW), a global leader in cloud infrastructure and business mobility, today unveiled a new platform for delivering secure digital workspaces for flexible workstyles and bring your own device (BYOD). Using the principles of consumer simple and enterprise secure, the digital workspace delivered by VMware will address the end user and enterprise IT business mobility needs by aggregating all devices, applications and services while securely managing them through unified common access and identity.

MyPOV - Good summary - mobile users are still less supported and less free to use their applications in a way that makes them productive. At the same time the need for secure and protected mobile computing is key for enterprises, so balancing the two is key for IT decision makers and VMware is trying to get there with Workspace One. Please note that ‘mobile’ includes tablets, more notably Windows based tablets (aka Surface) which is very popular in enterprises at the moment.
“In the mobile cloud era, employees, devices, applications and data increasingly live beyond the physical walls of the workplace, the datacenter, or the network,” said Sanjay Poonen, executive vice president and general manager, End-User Computing, VMware. “Digital enterprises are struggling to deliver a unified digital workspace due to disjointed technology and teams. We are proud to be the first to bring together identity, device management and application delivery on a single integrated platform so business can be conducted by mobile end-users regardless of platform, location, device or application.”
MyPOV - Good quote from Poonen - stressing the combination of identity, device management and applications. Effectively Workspace One is the product name for the ‘A Squared’ project that VMware talked about at VMworld (see my event report here), bringing together the abilities from VMware AirWatch and VMware App Volumes (hence A squared…).
A digital workspace can give IT a more efficient, simplified way of managing users, devices and applications. It can provide end users with a consumer simple way to seamlessly access all business resources regardless of device type. It also provides line of business a secure and powerful platform on which to build and rebuild business processes that enable a more effective mobile workforce to compete in the market.
MyPOV - This is the holy grail in the future of work - providing a consistent user experience, with all files and applications at hand across devices. In a secure and scalable way, good to see VMware getting closer to the holy grail of end user productivity, which is very much were the Future of Work should become reality - hopefully soon.
The Platform for Delivering a Digital Workspace
Organizations today are limited in their selection of solutions available to help mobile users maintain effectiveness and must choose between standalone point products for identity, device management and application delivery solutions. VMware Workspace ONE™ is designed to deliver a digital workspace that integrates device management, application delivery and identity management technologies. These combined benefits, on a single mobile platform, will enable secure management and delivery of business critical resources to employees for corporate IT, and consumer simple access for end-users. This solution will deliver options for all types of users from those with BYOD to corporate fully-managed devices.
MyPOV - Another good summary what Workspace ONE is about.
Capabilities of VMware Workspace ONE will include:
 MyPOV - Always notice the tenses in vendor statements - ‘will include’ - we are talking future here, though we are very close, I hear Q1. . 

· Consumer Grade Self-Service Access to Cloud, Mobile, Windows Applications – Will offer simple onboarding of new applications and employees. Employees will enjoy industry-first, one-touch mobile Single-Sign On access leveraging patent-pending Secure App Token Systems (SATS) that establishes trust between the user, device, enterprise and cloud. Once authenticated, employees will gain instant access to a personalized enterprise application store where they can subscribe to virtually any mobile, cloud or Windows application.
MyPOV - Good to start with the security aspect and good to see VMware IP in the space with SATS.
· Flexible Choice of Device: BYOD or Corporate Owned – Self-service, shrink-wrapped device provisioning through the new unified management platform will leverage mobile operating system (iOS, Android and Windows 10) management interfaces to self-configure laptops, smartphones and tablets for immediate enterprise use. Employees will be put in control of their BYO devices with the capability to choose the level of services and IT restrictions they are comfortable to use, increasing adoption of BYO programs, productivity, and reducing the risk of data loss.
MyPOV - Key takeaways are the cross platform capabilities - across iOS, Android and Windows 10. Maybe bad news for the few remaining Blackberry users - but this covers 98%+ of platforms. And good to see the flexibility between corporate owned and BYOD devices. It will be key to see the performance and usability on the BYOD devices, which in the past have not been at par and disappointing for users - across the industry.
· Secure Applications: Mail, Calendar, Content, and Chat – Employees want to use corporate mobile applications that work like consumer applications. VMware Workspace ONE will include email, calendar, contacts, content and chat applications that are consumer simple while invisible security measures protect the organization from data leakage. Workspace ONE will also build-in powerful swipe and touch integrations with web applications such as Evernote, Gmail and Yahoo! Mail, among others and third-party SaaS applications such as Atlassian Jira, GitHub and Jenkins for developer operations teams to act and respond from anywhere.
MyPOV - Application access has always been an issue for virtual desktops. It is good to see the extensive list of applications supported in a V1. The provisioning of web applications will be an interesting architecture piece to understand down the road. The support of Atlassian, Jira, GitHub and Jenkins in a V1 product allows for the interpretation that VMware is going after developers and DevOps professionals. Definitively an attractive area - but a massive cultural shift of ‘my machine’ vs a corporate desktop - will be very interesting to watch.
· Data Security and Endpoint Compliance with Conditional Access ­– To protect the most sensitive information, VMware Workspace ONE will combine identity and device management with industry-first ComplianceCheck Conditional Access to enforce access decisions across any application or device. This approach is based on conditions that include traditional identity policies such as strength of authentication, network scope and add device compliance policies including GPS location, application whitelist/blacklist and third party plug-ins from AirWatch® Mobile Security Alliance partners. Meanwhile the AirWatch compliance engine can remediate compliance issues through a series of customizable, automated workflows for both scale and enhanced security.
MyPOV - Bringing the very mature AirWatch capabilities to Workspace ONE is a good move and will offer enterprises a wide range of access control options. On a high level this is becoming a more and more crucial area - if you follow the recent E.U. / USA privacy challenges (more here).
· Real-Time App Delivery and Automation – As the industry is seeing convergence between desktops, laptops and tablets, operating systems such as Windows 10 are also converging to use mobile-style, application management. VMware Workspace ONE™ will modernize application lifecycle management by simplifying application packaging, delivery and ongoing management. Administrators can automate application delivery and provide updates on the fly, and users can gain access to Windows applications on all devices. Workspace ONE will leverage industry-leading VMware AirWatch mobile management and VMware Horizon®, along with VMware App Volumes application delivery technology.
MyPOV - Very correct, devices are getting more similar and managing them consistently is key for enterprises. And VMware got lucky to a certain point, as VMware AirWatch supported Windows Mobile. With Microsoft making Windows the same platform across devices with Windows 10 - the former mobile device management (MDM) capabilities of VMware AirWatch are now available to manage Windows 10 based tablets - and PCs. This gives VMware a very mature device management product. Bringing together the VMware App Volumes capabilities was part of project ‘A Squared’ see above (announced at VMworld 2015). And no surprise, VMware Horizon is part of the mix.
“Cloud and mobile technologies are fundamentally changing the way companies run their businesses,” said Keith Lippiatt, senior managing director, Accenture Infrastructure Services. “Our Workplace-as-a-Service offering, working with VMware’s Workspace ONE, enables us to deliver unified data and application access and identity management capabilities to enterprise users regardless of their device or location. For example, for a large communications company, Accenture is enabling an agile, secure and flexible workplace accessible from any device, anywhere using VMware Horizon Air.”
MyPOV - Good customer quote, always good to see customer endorsement on a version 1 product, but Accenture is a both a customer and (likely) a partner, taking away some of the genuine aspects of the reference. But professional services companies are prime candidates for VDI - with the number of parallel engagements going dramatically up, system integrators need to provide secure and separated work environments for their consultants.
Availability and Pricing
VMware Workspace ONE is expected to be generally available this quarter. The solution will be offered in standard, advanced and enterprise editions with prices starting at $8 per user per month for cloud subscriptions and $150 per user for on-premises perpetual licenses. 
MyPOV - Good to see the availability date and good it is this quarter, in the very near future. And good to see an entry price that is aggressive with 8$ - if the high end with 150$ will work in the markets remains to be seen, and of course we talk list prices here, before discounts.

Overall MyPOV

As I keep mentioning on VDI, I keep waiting for the bubble to burst. By now it is clear that only (public) cloud backends can provide the scale, performance and cost savings needed to make virtual desktops work across devices. A (public) cloud backend can address both the uptime, maintenance (as operated by the vendor) and functionality (across device, to other web properties) – that on premises deployments of VDI instances always have struggled with. 
Workspace ONE also poses a challenge for the ‘other side’ of VMware – can VMware cloud offerings provide the scale and low cost needed to make the EUC products price and cost competitive. If this works it will be very compelling, it if does not it will not be good news. What matters is, that the executive in charge, Sanjay Poonen, understands the cost equation all too well (remember he moved SAP’s MDM product to Amazon’s AWSCloud), so we can take that as a comfort level that cost should have been a key part of launching the offering. But let’s not forget that there is another heavyweight with Citrix, and new entries like Google for Work and Amazon Workspaces want to grab a share of the market. 
What works for VMware is the ‘magical’ capabilities of VMware App Volumes (here the synergies for the overall VMware are obvious – ‘slice’ in apps from already running hypervisors into an end user desktop) and the strong MDM and Identify capabilities for VMware AirWatch. All that coupled with VMware Horizon makes it overall an interesting offering for enterprises. We are not yet in the ‘cover your ears’ phase before the VDI bubble bursts – but getting closer. People will be the winner, as they move further to a key pillar of the Future of Work – information at their fingertips (wait who said that?) and on all their devices.
Find more coverage on the Constellation Research website here and checkout my magazine on Flipboard and my YouTube channel here.

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