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VMware launches new computing product called Horizon Flex

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October 14, 2014

At its VMworld Europe Gabfest yesterday, VMware has announced a new end-user computing product called Horizon Flex.

The new solution allows system admins to define virtual machines (VMs) and deploy them to Macs or PCs, where they can run in desktop hypervisors.

To be sure, VMware would much prefer that you use its own Player on PCs rather than desktop Hyper-V. Mac users will get to run Fusion.

Overall, VMs can be controlled with policies so they can, among other things, self-destruct after a time or access only certain resources on a specific system.

The reasoning behind the new product is that service contractors and temporary workers might be best served with a temporary VM drop, rather than a more elaborate set-up.

Self-destructing VMs mean fewer residual security worries at the end of an engagement, as there's nothing of note installed on the client device and the VM will become useless once the policy engine repels the VM's future connections to resources behind the firewall.

The idea is also being touted as a nice way to enhance and bring your own device (BYOD) management, especially for those Macs that some folks insist on bringing into the office.

Horizon Flex is slated to ship in December. Also on the VMworld Europe agenda is “Horizon Air Desktop DR” a desktop disaster recovery service that will offer failover services for physical or virtual desktops to VMware's “Air” cloud service.

VMware says that it occasionally hears of various incidents that take down desktop fleets, but leave the core data centre up and running.

By providing cloudy desktops pre-configured to connect to the data centre and the applications therein, VMware thinks it's onto a winner.

And it could be right in a way-- your correspondent is familiar with call centres where staff are expected to work remotely during natural disasters that would be preventing them from making it into the office.

A cloudy desktop would be just the right thing under those circumstances and at a starting price of US $5 per month looks like a low cost insurance policy.

On a related note, VMware has also announced that its desktop as a service will shortly be delivered from its European data centres in Germany during 2015's first quarter.

Another announcement concerns CloudVolumes, the company VMware acquired earlier this year. Now known as App Volumes, the app-deploying-and-decoupling-from-the-OS kit will allow apps to be deployed as virtual disks that attach to an OS but aren't dependent on it.

Potential integration with Horizon View Broker will make it possible to pump these apps out to desktops. Updating the app will require only an update of the master version, before redeployment of the update to those desktops and devices where it has been dispatched.

One more tidbit of information-- a new program for the sales channel will detail the storage implementations required to enable desktop virtualization, as VMware says unexpected costs are often derailing such efforts.

It's hoped that more guidance will mean fewer nasty surprises during implementation, both in terms of cost and performance.

It wouldn't be a VMworld without one of VMware's rivals trying some competitive marketing and this time around Microsoft's having a go, as it chose Monday to release version 3.0 of its Virtual Machine Converter.

The new version is even better at turning VMware VMs into Hyper-V or Azure instances. We will keep you posted on these and other developments.

Source: VMware.

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