Razavi says the Type 2 hypervisor is well-suited to the current BYOD climate because the apps run as fast as a native hypervisor, the virtual instances can take advantage of new improvements in processor architecture faster, and Type 2 can support new business apps that arise. For now, VMware has announced partnerships with LG and Samsung for the Horizon Mobile client. One of the main differences between Horizon Mobile and Divide: VMware might include their virtual client as a default install, ready to deploy, whereas Divide might be more of an aftermarket add-on.
3. Red Bend Software vLogix Mobile The main advantage to choosing Red Bend vLogix for mobile virtualization, a Type 1 hypervisor, has to do with speed and control. Lori Sylvia, a Red Bend vice president, says the company has worked closely with several device makers and semiconductor companies to make the product a native, hardware-layer component. She says native, driver-level hypervisor provides better performance, better security and tighter integration. That ways, she says, next-gen enterprises devices will be ready for deployment.
One example of this is the new ARM A-15 Cortex processor currently in development. The processor supports native level mobile virtualization. With this chip, IT can create a secure enterprise domain for the phone that is used to deploy mobile OS for business. IT becomes like a service provider for the business platform, choosing the exact drivers, firmware, apps, and security. Red Bend is already familiar with this deployment model, since they provide the framework for many over-the-air firmware updates used by most major smartphone companies, including Samsung and Motorola.
For personal data and apps, the employee then relies on the standard mobile carrier. When a notification appears related to the business instance, the employee can return to a home screen and access that platform. To visualize the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 hypervisors: the change form one platform to another might occur at the actual phone lock screen, as opposed to switching apps. This provides more hardware-level security and faster performance.
Of course, the downside is that the process of working with OEMs takes longer. There will be fewer smartphones that can support hardware level virtualization.
IT user acceptance
One of the challenges with mobile virtualization has to do with user acceptance. When an employee beings an iPhone into work, the last thing he or she expects is to have to hand the device over to IT for gatekeeping measures. Fortunately, as Hazelton noted, these employees will be more likely to go along with new mobile virtualization policies if they see the value in their job.
For example, mobile virtualization can help reduce some complexity with unified communication. IT can seamlessly "merge" one device into the enterprise as their business and personal phone become one. Employees will also benefit from more streamlined security: anytime they surf the Web, snap a picture, or chat over instant messaging, they won't have an IT hawk looking over their shoulder.
Yet, Hazelton says, when they do engage in business activities -- such as sharing a secure financial report -- they can use the approved business apps and an OS instance that is governed by IT. There's also no need for a complex password on the device when an employee wants to check the news. Employees are also free to download any app on their phone as long as they do so in the personal virtual OS.
A major hurdle to widespread adoption: Most of the mobile virtualization software works only with Android phones today. That leaves the most popular phone in the world out of the loop: the iPhone. Hazelton says few organizations have standardized on only Android phones.
Virtualization helps but you still need policies
In the end, mobile virtualization does address some critical trends in the enterprise. The one caveat is that, mobile virtualization does not fully address rogue employee activity. There is a clear separation between personal and business activities, and IT can control which apps are approved for business use, but employees can still send personal e-mails that contain business data. They can still nap photos of financial records with their phone and transmit them over Yahoo Mail.
Hazelton advises companies to still go to the root causes of security breaches and develop clear mobile policies. Virtualization can help, but it is not a fool-proof answer to the BYOD problem.
John Brandon is a former IT manager at a Fortune 100 company who now writes about technology.
Read more about virtualization in CIO's Virtualization Drilldown.