VMware outlines 'vision' for unified mobile security and management

VMware's  AirWatch acquisition providing mobile technology to combine with VMware products

VMware today put forward its "vision" for unifying the mobile security and management technology it acquired in its $1.5 billion acquisition of AirWatch earlier this year with its traditional line of virtualization software.

It's about setting a vision for end-user computing and helping drive the industry forward.

— Kit Colbert, chief technology officer, end-user computing at VMware

VMware’s chief technology officer for end-user computing, Kit Colbert, spelled out some general ideas in a blog post that represent architecture and technology integration plans related to AirWatch that he said would come in “phases.”  VMware also is making available a video presentation about its idea here. But details and commitment on timeframes isn’t likely to be disclosed until VMware’s VMworld Conference in San Francisco in the summer.

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“That vision is quite simple: users should be able to access all of their data and apps on any device without compromise, and IT should be able to seamlessly and consistently manage and secure all these apps, data, and devices,” Colbert says in his blog today.

“Unfortunately, in today’s environment, users have to compromise a lot as they switch between devices, in terms of capabilities and application support. Similarly desktop and mobility management have little in common, usually driven by separate IT teams with different areas of expertise.”

Mobile devices and management remain a “fragmented marketplace,” he noted, but VMware’s intention to present more “unified” options through integration of some VMware and AirWatch technologies. Colbert was not immediately available for comment.

In his blog, Colbert says the “big picture,” of what this means is bringing together VMware’s Horizon desktop management and AirWatch mobility management to create a more fluid user experience across Web apps and mobile apps as well as social networking by having a new kind of unified app catalog and management layer so that the mobile and desktop worlds were basically combined for ease of use.

Colbert notes that VMware could easily integrate in mobile apps into VMware’s Workspace, for example, and also go beyond just typing apps catalogs together.

“It’s about enabling a single identity and single sign-on across desktop and mobile,” Colbert says. “Users also expect their files to be synced up seamlessly across all their devices and want one place to go to access their files. AirWatch Secure Content Locker (SCL) is already that central access point, as it enables device connectivity to corporate datastores on SharePoint and CIFS in addition to cloud services like OneDrive and Google Drive. So we have an opportunity to create a common data solution by integrating Horizon Data capabilities into SCL for a seamless user experience.” It’s expected this would help systems administrators manage and secure devices, he adds.

Colbert put forward other ideas as well for integrating VMware products with AirWatch for desktop management, which include VMware Player Plus and VMware Mirage, adding “this is not an exhaustive list of every integration we are thinking about” but it was the “big picture” of what VMware is thinking about these days. There’s no stated timeframe on when any of this might occur if at all.

Ellen Messmer is senior editor at Network World, an IDG website, where she covers news and technology trends related to information security. Twitter: MessmerE. E-mail: emessmer@nww.com

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