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VMware aims to give IT more control over SaaS apps

The recent acquisition of TriCipher will form the basis of upcoming products

By Mikael Ricknäs, IDG News Service
October 13, 2010 09:31 AM ET

IDG News Service - VMware is working on products that will give enterprises more control over Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications, including how users are authenticated, company CTO Steve Herrod, said in an interview on Tuesday.

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VMware's acquisition of cloud service vendor TriCipher in August will form the basis of products that should help the IT department get more control. TriCipher manages authentication for SaaS applications, according Herrod, who thinks of TriCipher as a switchboard service in the sky.

TriCipher's technology takes credentials stored in Active Directory or other internal directory services and translates them into a form of authentication that the SaaS applications can understand, according to Herrod. This will allow the IT department to control who gets access, and also easily remove credentials from users that leave the company, he said.

Besides authentication, TriCipher's technology will also allow IT departments to automatically provision SaaS applications to their users, according to Herrod. Users then pick the services they need from a menu in their browser.

The first VMware offering based on TriCipher's will be released during the first half of next year, and will be the first instance of Project Horizon, which aims to allow the delivery and management of cloud-based desktop applications to any sort of user device.

VMware hasn't decided if TriCipher's technology will be integrated into an existing product or be turned into a stand-alone product, or what it will cost.

For VMware, the proliferation of SaaS applications will affect every layer of its software stack, according to Herrod.

For example, many of its service provider partners will end up hosting the services, according to Herrod.

Also, VMware is hoping the applications will be built using its vFabric cloud application platform, he said. VFabric was announced at the end of August, and it combines the Spring Java development framework with a lightweight application server, cloud-ready messaging, load balancing and management, of both data and performance.

Today, VMware has a person who goes out and talks to SaaS vendors to help VMware understand more about the kinds of challenges they are facing when building apps, and then reports to Herrod. It will end up being a win-win situation: VMware can do more business and the SaaS vendors can take advantage of VMware's reputation among enterprises as they try to increase adoption of their services, according to Herrod.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

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