VMware tackles enterprise personal cloud

Users love services like iCloud, but IT doesn't. VMware is cooking up an elaborate 'personal cloud' solution that IT can deploy and control

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All that end-user technology is only part of enterprise personal cloud. Another part originates in the public cloud: commercial SaaS applications from Google Apps to NetSuite to Salesforce. VMware's Horizon Application Manager, which debuted last May, already provides policy-based management for public cloud SaaS apps, so users can enjoy single sign-on and IT gets a single point of control. Perhaps the biggest benefit for IT is clean deprovisioning: When a user leaves a company that uses a SaaS gateway like Horizon, one button can revoke that user's access to all of his or her SaaS accounts.

Horizon Application Manager extends this level of control beyond SaaS to internal enterprise applications, ThinApp virtualized Windows applications, and so on. The long-range plan is to provide identity-based management and access control for all public and private cloud services, including remote desktops, applications, and data.

Finally, with Horizon Mobile, VMware provides managed, secure virtual machines for Android smartphones. (Unless Apple plays ball and supports virtualization of iOS, VMware will have to take a different approach to the iPhone.) As with client-side hypervisors for the desktop, you can download a secure "business VM" to your smartphone, which syncs to a host maintained by the enterprise. When you're done working the virtual machine, it disappears from the mobile client -- and can be blown away easily if the device is lost or stolen. When you use the smartphone for personal applications, you're completely unconstrained. Knock yourself out with iCloud or whatever because the business virtual machine remains isolated and secure.

As seems to be characteristic of VMware, there are a lot of moving parts here, with an overabundance of individual products and product names. But the big picture emerging from this swarm of new and existing technology has undeniable appeal: a consumerized personal cloud for users that could deliver a new level of device independence, while providing IT with a secure solution that provides granular policy-based control. VMware won't talk about release dates for AppBlast or Octopus yet, but if all the pieces fit together properly, VMware's EUC vision could lure many forward-looking enterprise customers.

This article, "VMware tackles enterprise personal cloud," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Eric Knorr's Modernizing IT blog, and for the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld on Twitter.

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