On June 13th 2012, Horizon Application Manager 1.5 became general available.
Horizon Application Manager is a cross-platform end-user management solution that unifies, secures and controls access to SaaS, enterprise web and Windows applications across different end-user devices.
That’s a nice sentence (I copied it to be honest), but what does that mean?
I see Horizon App Manager as a services broker, meaning, it can broker different kinds of services. A service can be SaaS applications, Enterprise web apps and ThinApps, to name few. VMware View on the other hand, can only broker VMware View virtual desktops. No matter where I am, I can connect to my View installation and connect to my desktop, which is running somewhere in a datacenter. Great but there are other services as well which can provide applications to end users and which don’t require a full Windows desktop to do so. Think about SaaS applications. Yes, I could logon to my virtual desktop via View and then access that SaaS app but that isn’t the smartest way of doing things, right.
You can access SaaS apps with a browser and every device (laptop, desktop, virtual desktop, smart phone and tablet) has a browser. I can access that SaaS app from every device and from anywhere. That’s cool…. But there are some downsides.
What if a company is using multiple SaaS apps? A user connects to those apps directly. Every SaaS app provider has an account for that user. Let’s assume that user leaves the company. The company’s IT department needs to delete that account with every SaaS provider manually. If they forget an account, the user will still be able to access the company’s resources. I bet the IT department would like to use a method to disable a user at 1 place and that user, from that moment on, cannot use any resource anymore.
Also from a user perspective there are some downsides. Let’s go back to the SaaS app example: To use these SaaS apps, the user needs to logon/authenticate every time he/she wants to use these apps. No Single Sign On. Also, no real overview of which services/apps you can use. Wouldn’t it be great, when you start your working day, to logon to a portal, see all your apps you can use, just click on them and they start without authenticating every time, over and over again!?
This is where Horizon App Manager comes into play. Basically, Horizon App Manager 1.5 is an on-premise solution (it is running in the customer’s environment/behind the firewall). It provides a central place for IT to manage users and apps. IT can entitle groups and users to different apps and also remove these entitlements from 1 place. No more managing accounts which exists at different providers
Horizon also is a user’s central workspace/portal, where he/she can access his/her
applications and services. One central portal you access in the morning and use during the day to access all your resources.
For the record, at this moment Horizon is able to broker SaaS, enterprise web and Windows apps. With Windows apps I mean Windows applications which have been ThinApp’d. Do I think Horizon should also broker other services like XenApp, VMware View, a data service like Octopus (which still is in beta)? Yes, Horizon should! That would make sense, right.
More and more information about Horizon is becoming available. To see a nice video which shows the user’s workspace/app portal side, go here. Also, attached the official data sheet;