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VMware to tackle the Windows desktop management segment?

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September 2, 2015

VMware said today it may tackle the Windows desktop management segment of IT with its AirWatch mobile device and identity management solutions. It is studying the feasibility of this to work.

To be sure, AirWatch is best known as a method to better manage and deploy enterprise applications to mobile devices, based on user profiles that determine what users are allowed to run and/or the resources they are allowed to access.

At VMworld 2015 today, VMware demonstrated a project called A2 that allows AirWatch to do the same for Windows 10 desktops.

To be frank, A2 isn't entirely new-- one part of it is VMware App Volumes, a tool for spawning various apps onto devices, which VMware acquired with a company called CloudVolumes in 2014.

Another piece is VMware Identity Management. AirWatch has also been able to manage desktops for a while, but the business unit hasn't spent much time talking about it or trying to do so on Windows.

That's now changed because Microsoft has added APIs to Windows 10 to make it more easily managed, as part of Redmond's efforts to make Windows 10 behave consistently across various devices.

And because Microsoft hopes businesses will adopt Windows 10 on smartphones and tablets, and because those devices need management because they are often employee-owned and can be forgotten in a restaurant or in the back of a taxi somewhere, the same management hooks for Windows 10 on mobile devices made it into desktop Windows 10.

VMware has grabbed those hooks, and the result was a short demo in which a Windows 10 user logged-on to a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) laptop with their work email address, an event that saw their employer's preferred suite of apps deployed to the Windows 10 desktop at impressive speed.

Overall, A2 is a preview and there's no word on when it will arrive in saleable form anytime soon.

When it does, it may find a fertile reception-- the VMworld crowd drew breath appreciatively during the demo today.

Sanjay Poonen, VMware's leader for all things end-user computing, later said A2 is significant for VMware because the company knows that not every business will run desktop virtualization software and even those who do rarely go all-in.

But just about every organization runs desktops and will make it to Windows 10 eventually. It's almost certain to happen.

And just about every organization is also investigating mobility, either with owned or BYOD devices. A2 is therefore kind of a big deal for VMware because it puts the company into play on the world's PCs as well as mobile devices and, most importantly, the world's servers.

The idea is that all good things VMware did to physical servers, it now aspires to do to physical desktops, starting with role-based app delivery.

For a company that's still looking for a second tent-pole to erect a big new business to stand alongside server virtualization software, A2 is therefore rather significant.

Source: VMware.

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