The Post-BlackBerry Era

A great article has been posted on the VMware CTO Office’s blog site by VMware’s Srinivas Krishnamurti.

http://cto.vmware.com/the-post-blackberry-era/

Personally I still think Horizon Mobile is the way to go for mobile devices. Yes, Mobile Device Management tools could help enterprises a lot but is that the way to go? Would you allow enterprise management tools on your own personal mobile device? Even if you use that device for your work related activities?

Personally, I wouldn’t accept that. However, a corporate phone, pushed on top of my own phone as a virtual machine..yes…I could deal with that. Assuming my employer doesn’t have access to the “personal side” of my phone..my phone, my Facebook ( oh wait, I don’t use FB), my Twitter, my private email, Google+ etc. With Horizon Mobile, that’s the case.

Again, (people keep asking this), will Horizon Mobile move to iPhone, iPad and other Tablets? I really can’t tell. My wish: yes..now. please. In fact, I would prefer Horizon Mobile to become available on tablets more than on phones… but that’s a very personal opinion.

Before I forget this (and I have had several discussions about this before) I see Horizon Mobile as a great solution to separate work and private activities on one single device. I’m not discussing mobile devices as an access point to access Virtual Machines and push corporate apps etc…That’s a whole different story.

 

 

User Virtualization in the Post PC-era?

Today I ran into an article which had an interesting quote;

 Persona Management isn’t mature enough yet, and VMware knows it, Dunkin’s Brennan said. The company probably added it just to “check the box”, but he speculated that VMware would get profile management up to speed by making an acquisition

We can have a discussion about the the first part in another article but especially the acquisition part caught my attention.

So, will VMware acquire another company to speed up its profile management? I think that is an interesting question. A different question but related to the first 1 could be; how important will User Virtualization be in, let’s say, 5 years? Yet another question; will you still need User Virtualization in 5 years?

First, let’s take 1 step back for a minute; Once upon a time, there were Windows PC’s and in Windows NT the profiling scheme was introduced. Then there were roaming profiles, mandatory profiles, default user profiles and Group Policies; all mechanisms to control the user, control and save their settings like printers/wallpaper, their permissions to shares and folders, what they are or aren’t allowed to do like accessing Control Panel. Also, store profiles centrally and users will have the same look and feel from any Windows PC. Separate the user from the Operating System.

Third party vendors like RTO, Appsense, RES and LiquidWare got into this space as well to fill gaps and add new features, moving on where standard Microsoft profiles and GPO’s stopped.

But, all the tools have 1 thing in common; Windows. That’s not a bad thing but it isn’t the only platform anymore to run applications. IOS/Android phones/tablets and Macs are out there in the enterprise, even privately owned ones. The world is changing and I believe it is the Post PC-era already.

Management will change. It has to change. Applications and data will be delivered to different devices in different ways; you access ThinApp apps via VMware View from your private Android Tab 1 moment. Next, you access a SaaS app on your corporate iPhone.

Instead of managing most things on a Windows level/device level, you have to take that management up a couple of levels. To me, that’s the user level. It will become more important who is allowed to access which application/data from what device and place. The underlying Operating System and device will become less important. Horizon App Manager will be that Universal Broker where you set those user based rules.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe Windows will be around for a long time as a platform to execute specific applications. But will that platform be considered to be big enough for VMware to invest in a Windows profile management tool? Again, interesting questions.

Fling; VMware Zimbra for Android

VMware Zimbra for Android (VZA) has been around for a while but it’s not known that well.  It is an email client for Android devices which supports Zimbra backends. At this moment the VZA is a “fling”; a client to test drive, officially not supported.

I have been using the VZA for a while now and I can say it’s a decent client. I find it easy to install and use. It gives me my work email, calendar, tasks and Briefcase. I have my corporate email and files available in 1 app. On top of that, I run the VZA on my Samsung Galaxy SII  and Galaxy Tab 10.1.

The VZA runs on Android 2.1 and above and the current version is 1.28. The app does require an ActiveSync enabled email client on your Android device (on most devices that’s the case). Also, because the VZA is available outside the Android Marketplace, you will need to enable your device to install applications from “unknown sources”.

You can download the client on http://labs.vmware.com/flings/vza More information is available on that site like comments and a video.

If your email environment is Zimbra and you have an Android device, go ahead, download the app and test it.

BYOD and the Nirvana phone

It’s has been a long time since I heard about the Nirvana phone for the first time. After that, it became very quiet around it. Last week I heard about it again. In this article I want to share my thoughts about BYOD and the Nirvana phone. I used some information from Brian Madden’s article from the beginning of this year.

What is the Nirvana phone? Basically the Nirvana phone is a 1; regular mobile phone with all the common capabilities, and it isn’t tied to a specific vendor and 2; a device which can handle a USB/Bluetooth keyboard/mouse and where you can connect a monitor to and change it into a thin client/PC. With the appropriate app (Citrix Receiver/VMware View Client) you can connect to a corporate desktop. Citrix’s Chris Fleck has been writing about this concept for while now. Click here to see a demo video.

When I first heard about it I wanted to have “it”. Without thinking about it I was thrilled about the concept. Combine it with Bring Your Own Device, and the concept became even better; get your favorite mobile phone, one you like and can operate and also use it to access your corporate desktop. That’s sweet!

Then I started to think about the concept and quickly I became less cheerful.

My first concern is the docking, cabling, keyboard, mouse and monitor issue; do I need to carry all that around myself? The cables, adapters, mouse and keyboard are small and could fit in my bag but a monitor? Never. I visit customers and partners a lot and I’m pretty sure of 1 thing; I’m not going to ask for a monitor before I go into a meeting. Same with hotels though. Yes there is a TV but I don’t want to use that as my monitor. I prefer to work and listen to the TV, switch channels etc. I haven’t seen a separate monitor in many hotel rooms. Besides the monitor, wouldn’t it be a lot easier to grab a laptop or even a tablet in stead of setting up everything so you can work on your phone?

So what if I don’t have a monitor, too much hassle to setup everything or you can’t connect to your vDesktop? I could just work on my mobile phone. But that is a very small screen and basically not usable (that’s the reason for that monitor!). Let’s assume you have very small fingers and it’s very easy for you to type for an hour on your 4” screen during a meeting. Remember I combined the Nirvana phone and BYOD concept. So basically, this is your personal phone and because you can’t connect to a remote desktop you want to use your phone for work. This means you will use local apps for work. Local apps you normally use for private things. Private and corporate data will mix. IT doesn’t have control over you personal device and can’t set policies. With the Nirvana concept, I’m missing something to fill this gap. I believe that when it comes to BYOD, VMware Horizon Mobile is a must have, essential, can’t live without it. Think about it; when you open a confidential corporate document, do you want it to be cached inside a corporate vPhone or just on your private phone? You can read more about Horizon Mobile here. Again, VMware Horizon Mobile comes into play with BYOD and not specifically the Nirvana concept but I combined the 2 because I think BYO will get huge!

Also, when you do have all the gear in place to hook up your phone, how would you make phone calls. Well it is possible to be connected and make calls at the same time. However, you need to put it on speaker or use a headset. Putting it on speaker isn’t an option in many cases. People around you, noise, the nature (confidential/private) of your conversation will stop you from putting it on speaker. A headset will solve the issue but again, another gadget I need to carry around and keep charged battery wise. I don’t use a headset otherwise.

Users who don’t need local horse power and don’t need offline capabilities don’t need a laptop and a mobile phone, provided by the company. That is very true. I personally would give those users a Thin Client (more robust than a mobile phone, static setup, no hassle) and access to a VMware View Desktop with a soft phone installed inside it. Unified Communications is supported inside a VMware View 5 environment with Avaya, Cisco and Mittel. So you need 1 devices; a thin client with a headset.

Undocking and docking your phone because of whatever reason shouldn’t be an issue. Time out settings inside your vDesktop can easily handle that. Also, current mobile devices can output a high quality resolution so that shouldn’t be a issue as well.

At this moment my feeling is we have passed this Nirvana phone station. Too much hassle with gear and it isn’t a solution when, for example a monitor or vDesktop isn’t available and you need to work offline; your screen is way too small. New device like tablets are common now and will take care of tasks more easily/efficiently that could/couldn’t have been done by the Nirvana phone. It must be said that VMware Horizon Mobile for tablets needs to be available before the BYOTablet concept can happen big time though. Also on a tablet you want a secure corporate space to access/read/modify data and access apps.

The small screen will be an issue with app remoting techniques as well. Right now, Connecting to a vDesktops is part of the Nirvana phone concept. The thing is that a vDesktop won’t be the only technique to access corporate resources/application. For example, VMware also announced Project Appblast during VMworld 2011. Appblast is a application remoting technique. So basically you remote apps via HTML5 to a browser. Great stuff!! But what about my Nirvana phone? Again, without a monitor the phone screen is too small. Same as with remoting a vDesktop. Displaying a vDesktop or an app is so much easier on a tablet.

Because of all previously said I believe most people will end up with 3 devices; smart phone, tablet and laptop. This could be 2 depending on how tablets will evolve. Maybe the laptop will be replaced by the tablet eventually, who knows.