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VMware Horizon Suite to bundle end-user computing tools

VMware's Horizon Suite will bundle its Horizon Application Manager, Project Octopus and Horizon Mobile products, but IT pros will have to wait until next year to see it in action.

SAN FRANCISCO -- "Right Here, Right Now" is the official slogan of VMworld 2012, but it doesn't apply to the availability of VMware's end-user computing products.

"It's like Christmas never comes."

Brian Knudtson, solutions architect with Vital Support Systems

For years, VMware Inc. has talked about mobile management and other technologies to help organizations deal with the consumerization of IT, and the company introduced more at its annual conference this week. Only one product, Horizon Application Manager, is available now, however, and the other technologies are almost a year away, which has eager customers and partners frustrated.

"They've been teasing it for so long," said Brian Knudtson, solutions architect with Vital Support Systems, a TDS Company. "It's like Christmas never comes."

VMware's new Horizon Suite will bundle these previously disclosed products:

  • Horizon Application Manager, which lets IT provide identity-based access to corporate Software as a Service and Windows applications on desktops and mobile devices;
  • Project Octopus (now formally called Horizon Data), a corporate alternative to file-syncing and -sharing services such as Dropbox; and
  • Horizon Mobile, which virtualizes Android smartphones and creates separate business and personal environments on the same device.

New features will include Horizon Mobile for iOS, which offers application sandboxing on iPads and iPhones, and a technology called user interface virtualization designed to improve the experience of using Windows and its applications on mobile devices.

"They've got a great vision, and they're going in exactly the direction they need to," Knudtson said.

The Horizon Suite will have a beta release in the fourth quarter of this year, with general availability scheduled for next year, VMware executives said. Some VMworld attendees were skeptical, given the fact that VMware first announced mobile virtualization in 2008 and still hasn't released a product, and that Horizon Data was supposed to be released in the third quarter of this year.

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"We understand the need, and we want to bring it to market faster," said Ashish Jain, a VMware director of product management, in a Horizon session at VMworld. Security and integration issues still need some work, however, he said.

VMware has held off on a release of Horizon Data because the product will be more valuable to customers as part of the Horizon Suite, said Ben Goodman, lead evangelist for VMware Horizon.

"We're being very aggressive trying to get [the Horizon Suite] out," Goodman said. "We know people want this stuff."

Horizon Data will also be available as a standalone product, however, said Andrew Hawthorn, a VMware senior product marketing manager, in a session on Horizon Data. That specific product's general availability is slated for the first half of next year, he said.

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