VMware Horizon Mobile delivers BYOD functionality to Verizon in US

Mobile virtualization provides dual persona features for Android smartphone devices

As the competition in the server virtualization market continues to heat up and the number of "unvirtualized" servers continues to dwindle, market pressures are forcing VMware to look outside its stronghold to other lucrative areas such as cloud and end-user computing.

Within the end-user computing market, a phenomenon known as the BYOD movement has flooded the workplace with user-owned iOS and Android devices. While many analysts and reporters have been preaching about the positive side of BYOD, many companies remain reluctant to let their employees use personal devices for work purposes -- with good reason. There are a ton of security and privacy issues that go along with doing so, especially if an employee leaves the company.

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But VMware and Verizon's Enterprise Solutions group announced last week that they have a solution to this problem.

In a joint press release last Wednesday, the two companies introduced the immediate availability of VMware's Horizon Mobile solution, a dual persona offering available to Verizon enterprise customers.

The announcement is significant, as it is the first time VMware's mobile software is being supported on a smartphone device in the United States. Prior to that, VMware made similar announcements with Spain's Telefonica during VMworld Europe in October 2011 and with Japan's SoftBank Telecom in November 2012.

VMware says Horizon Mobile takes a unique approach to separating a smartphone into two parts: one for accessing the corporate environment's applications and data, and the other for accessing personal items, such as texting and playing Angry Birds. Other solutions on the market involve containerization processes, which may require modification to individual applications.

VMware, on the other hand, uses virtualization technology to wall off one user persona from the other. Because Horizon Mobile hosts corporate content in a complete operating system, IT administrators can control the workspace more tightly and efficiently. It also allows easier setup of policies governing what users can and cannot do while at the same time taking away some of the user's angst by allowing the company the ability to remotely wipe only the corporate workspace environment.

According to Srinivas Krishnamurti, senior director of mobile product management at VMware, the usage paradigms have changed and IT needs to rethink security and manageability of mobile devices. Krishnamurti went on to state:

The old BlackBerry model of locking and wiping the device is no longer in line with how employees use their devices. IT administrators can now leverage VMware Horizon Mobile to isolate personal content from corporate content and only manage the corporate content on the device. The corporate content resides in a "workspace" whose lifecycle and usage is managed by IT. IT can customize what apps are in the workspace and what policies are applied to the workspace, provision the workspace to the user's device over the air (OTA), and then manage its life cycle remotely.

But this announcement isn't all sunshine and rainbows. One of the issues with VMware's mobile virtualization platform is that it requires a specially modified version of Android to act as a host.

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