VMware dangles dollars for mobile, apps, and virtualization migration

Safe Passage migrates users from Citrix XenApp and MobileIron to VMware, with financial incentives as part of the package

VMware's newest offering isn't a product so much as an escape hatch.

In a blog post this morning, VMware VP of Marketing for End User Computing Erik Frieberg detailed the company's new Safe Passage program. It's a migration initiative for getting enterprises to consolidate their desktop virtualization, application delivery, and MDM (mobile device management) products on VMware's platform. Given that VMware can provide you with all of the above, the company argues, why juggle more than one vendor for the solutions?

The initiative doesn't consist solely of tools and service offerings to perform the migration. VMware is also providing financial incentives to minimize the amount of risk for the migration.

The first part of that equation appears to be VMware leveraging its interoperability expertise (working with Microsoft Hyper-V) while trying to maintain its market presence. A spokesperson for VMware identified Citrix, Microsoft, and NComputing among the supported virtual desktop and application vendor platforms. For MDM, the platforms include MobileIron, XenMobile, BlackBerry, and Good Technology. In all cases, VMware claims it has a seamless migration path.

As for the financial incentives, VMware's trying to make the switch to its products as cost-neutral -- the company's words -- as possible. According to the blog post, "[c]ustomers can make the move to VMware Horizon 6 along with 3 years of SnS (support and subscription service) for roughly the cost of 3 years of their existing solution and support." Likewise, "customers with MDM solutions from other point vendors can upgrade and choose any AirWatch Management Suite at a cost-attractive price compared to their current support or subscription fees."

At its core, the program's more of a case-by-case way to win customers away from the competition than a one-size-fits-all pricing system. When I asked VMware if it could be classified as a price-matching program, I was told that didn't fit the bill "because some vendors will have cheaper software licenses but higher support costs and vice versa." Rather, explained a spokesperson for VMware, it is "a program that offers no risk, cost neutral switch when factoring software and support," with pricing best described as being "on a customer-by-customer basis."

Back when VMware purchased AirWatch, speculation ran rampant as to why a virtualization company was getting into the MDM game. Most of the way virtualization and mobile had overlapped up to that point, at least for VMware, had been in the form of virtualization container technologies for smartphones. But of late, VMware's larger strategy has taken shape: To treat mobile, virtual desktops, and apps as resources that can be consolidated underneath its enterprise-wide umbrella.

Enterprise virtualization's a saturated market, meaning VMware has to look to other ways to broaden its share. This strategy seems more of a secondary or tertiary strategy than a primary directive, but it's a sign as to how VMware is attempting to reorient itself in the face of pressure from multiple sides.

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