VMware drives shift to personal clouds with Project Octopus

Project Octopus helps admins build secure personal clouds for users to freely and securely connect from any device, any time

Advances in virtualization, cloud computing, and mobile technology have created a perfect storm for a new era in end-user computing, one in which users can revel in their own personal cloud, connecting to all their apps and data, anyplace and anytime from any device, be it a Wyse thin client at work, a company-issued Android phone on the road, a personal iPad at the airport, or a Windows XP machine at home.

Although the trend means greater productivity for users, it can be a pain for IT admins charged with the unenviable task of ensuring that those disparate services, apps, and data are delivered consistently and securely, regardless of device or platform. With the the unveiling of an enterprise-grade Dropbox-like file sharing solution called Project Octopus, VMware aims to make the personal cloud a practical reality for businesses.

Available for beta testing later this quarter, Project Octopus intends to let end-users securely connect, share data, and collaborate with one another regardless of device. IT administrators, meanwhile, will be able to govern usage and set policies for data access and sharing, both within the organization and with external contributors. If Project Octopus works as advertised, truly creating a seamless and secure cross-platform experience, it could give users the mobility and freedom they want while the business gets the control it needs.

Aside from Project Octopus, VMware revealed other product news aimed at keeping end-users connected to their desktops all day, every day. The company unveiled Version 5.1 of VMware View, a point release of the VDI platform that promises to lighten the load on shared storage through smarter caching; broadens support for peripherals through a new USB stack; and includes updated clients for Mac, Windows, and Linux desktops, for thin and zero clients, as well as iPad, Android, and Kindle Fire tablets.

In addition, VMware View Personal Management now extends to physical desktops, preserving user settings across all Windows devices while streamlining the migration from physical to stateless virtual desktops.

VMware also has injected more security and compliance features into View. Admins can centrally enforce endpoint security and policy configuration and streamline antivirus processes. Additionally, View 5.1 integrates with RADIUS two-factor authentication, giving organizations an extra layer of security.

On top of enhancements to VMware View itself, VMware unveiled VMware vCenter Operations for VMware View: Cloud Infrastructure Insight. This add-on for View is designed to give admins in VMware vSphere shops broader insight into desktop performance and the ability to troubleshoot problems and optimize resource utilization from within vSphere's vCenter console.

Also new is VMware Horizon Application Manager 1.5, an on-premise virtual appliance that acts as a centralized policy and entitlement engine for granting users access to applications, virtual desktops, and data resources. Included is the Horizon Application Catalog, which consolidates applications by type into a single, unified catalog. VMware Horizon Workspace aims to provide a consistent end-user experience over private and public clouds, regardless of end-user device.

This article, "VMware drives shift to the personal cloud with Project Octopus," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Get the first word on what the important tech news really means with the InfoWorld Tech Watch blog. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.