Archive for the End user computing Category

Horizon 6 – EUC has finally arrived in the VMware camp!

Posted in End user computing, Horizon Suite, Vmware with tags , , , , , on April 24, 2014 by infrastructureguy

Maybe a bit of an exaggerated title but I cannot say how long I have waited for VMware to make the jump into RDSH (Remote Desktop Session Host) Most people know that instead of embracing it they bash it to death in their documentation, quite how they put a positive spin on that marketing message is a little beyond me, but that’s why I am not in marketing!

So, why am I so excited. Well according to most vendors that I speak with we are an “odd” case. As we are running Citrix XenApp 6.5 and VMware Horizon Suite. They and you may ask why and there is good reason. We ran a POC of VMware View 4 and Xendesktop 5. We were already using XenApp 6.5 and vSphere for our Hypervisor, so you could say that Xendesktop was the logical way to go, well the logical way isn’t always the best way.

For example, I just found Xendesktop to be far to disparate and having all the different admin consoles was just annoying. I also was not sold on the VM hosted apps feature for compatibility, it just meant I had a whole host of extra XP machines to run. ThinApp was far cleaner with less management. It was also annoying that they used different architectures IMA for XenApp and FMA for desktop. I also find that the Citrix architecture is pretty complex and VMware View was a lot easier to deal with and train other people on.

I will admit that until this announcement I was considering my strategy as Citrix were finally planning with 7.5 to unite the platform. But I was very dubious as we saw with 7.1 they ditched XenApp and annoyed a lot of people. Whilst it looks like 7.5 brings Xenapp back into play it’s still based on FMA and as such loads of features are still not there! Nice one Citrix, you made my decision for me!

Time to move my Xenapp 6.5 to Horizon 6! I love the fact that I can run the two side by side, I mean that is seriously cool and incredabily shrude of VMWare. I actually have a hunch that it will be easier to migrate from XA 6.5 to Horizon than it will be to XA 7.5 as that basically means starting again.

obviously the RDSH is not the only new feature but to my mind it is the biggest and has the most impact. Not only to me but to the entire EUC space.

If time allows it I will get another post out with some thoughts on the other new features and I will detail my upgrade path from XenApp as I think that will be interesting.

VMware purchase Airwatch

Posted in End user computing, Horizon Suite, Vmware with tags , , , on March 31, 2014 by infrastructureguy

*Er.. before you read this, please note that I wrote this a few days after the acquisition. I thought I had published it. Clearly not!*

I think I must have missed this one as I only discovered this latest acquisition whilst talking to a member of VMware’s technical marketing team the other day. I don’t usually write anything on this type of news but I thought I would give it a bash and see what happens!

It would seem that mobile device management has been on companies watch lists for a while and in the last year it has clearly attracted some real attention. You only need to look at Citrix buying Mobile Iron and Good and the recent purchase of MAAS360 by IBM to see that.

I was starting to think that VMware were hell-bent on getting Horizon Mobile out to market as their only offering in the mobile space. Don’t get me wrong, whilst having a hypervisor on my phone seems awesome, I am just not convinced that it would work in the enterprise. For starters it’s not available in the UK (at least it wasnt last year when I was looking at MDM) so it’s a limited market, next the phones that listed as supporting the tech was also limited and unless I am just missing the point what would be classed as the real business need for a hypervisor on a phone, I for one don’t see anyone talking about that type of requirement. Anyway that was the point of this post, so I digress and get back to the subject at hand.

In my humble opinion I can only see this as a positive move for VMware, I do wonder if it will supersede Horizon Mobile and if the two can/will co-exist. Horizon Mobile aside, if you consider that VMware appear to want to be taken seriously in the EUC space then offering a MDM solution with-in their suite makes a lot of sense, their biggest rival Citrix has a big presence in this space so why not keep up with the Jone’s so to speak. Again, this is just my opinion but I think that this purchase is more along the right track than say Zimbra or Slide Rocket for example. I never really got those purchases, why would VMware think that providing the applications would be a good idea, especially when their EUC offering at that time was seriously lacking in features.

From an architecture point I think that VMware will need to work quickly to integrate this into the suite. If I looked at my campus then I would envisage having any number of mobile devices accessing my workspace portal and having the ability to stop them at the perimeter and posture, control and deploy a secure container automatically would be pretty cool. I would never have to worry about those devices.

When I asked the Tech marketing guy how it would be licenses and when it would be available he drew a complete blank and said that there was no information to hand. I am not surprised at all but if you don’t ask you don’t get. One will assume that it will eventually be built into the Horizon Suite SKU and I am hoping that existing customers will just get it as part of their current agreement. However that will remain to be seen!

The articles that I read seemed very focused on the commercial aspect of this deal and its a large sum of money, whilst I don’t really have an opinion on that I did think to myself that there must be a few VC’s out there right now with some nice big smiles on their faces!

Coupled this with the DeskTone purchase VMware are clearly here to stay in the EUC space and like it or not I don’t see that changing for quite some time.

You can read more about this acquisition from the horses mouth so speak.

Post PC era… I want to see a post VPN era.

Posted in End user computing with tags on June 4, 2013 by infrastructureguy

Title aside, I realise that secure tunnels still have a place in today’s networks. The point of this post is to look at our users experience and the fact that using VPN’s to get to corporate resources is in my mind a chore.

I recently completed a VDI proof of concept which we had to tear down. I can honestly say that I am already sick of getting into the office using our SSL VPN. First I have to connect to the VPN, then I can log on to a terminal server or desktop pc. It may only be two steps but at each one I have to wait and authenticate, where as with View I had one single sign and I was in my desktop. Simple!

I just want to flick the iPad on, open my view client and connect to my desktop in a few clicks. I suspect that most if not all my user base would gladly chop their VPN in for a few simple clicks. Besides they don’t really understand why they have it when they have experienced Go To My PC for example.

I have had this type of conversation with more switched on users, I just have to tow the line and say that is our company policy for remote access today. That grates a bit but what can I do!

Our POC was successful and I have ordered VMware Horizon suite, so I can embark on a mission to relieve our user community of the VPN burden to access our company resources.

Clearly a large number of applications are web-based and you may be lucky to have them all securely facing the Internet, however I still believe that a good number of organisations are still lagging behind, my own included. Thus VPN connections are still rife. I am not saying that they are the root of all evil but at the heart of any good EUC strategy you should have the user experience and VPN in my mind does not go hand in hand with user experience.

You may also say well you can get the VPN to auto start or you can use Windows 7 direct access which is a cool technology, but they all add a layer of complexity. I would also debate that with DA, it’s there to support a traditional PC form factor and help ease some of its management burdens.

So I say forget post pc era and aim for giving your users a simple, secure experience to services behind the firewall without a traditional VPN.

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