The title of this post sounds crazy to me, but I feel like it’s quickly becoming true. Disclaimer: Yes, I am a VMware employee, but before I was a VMware employee I was a technology junkie both personally and professionally. and still am. I’m not writing this post to promote any VMware product or venture, it’s just a thought I had today as I was reading some of the media coming out of the AirWatch Connect conference in Atlanta that wraps up today. I’d like to examine and support my reason for calling VMware a mobility company, and I’m hoping you will go along with me on this. I’ll briefly walk through VMware’s Past, Present and Future in the next few sections, keep reading!
If you are like me and started your experience with VMware early on, circa 2005 or earlier, then you know how exciting it was and how it changed the server computing game significantly. If you are from that VMware era, then you know about the hypervisor and installing ESX 3.0 from the command prompt at the server itself, these were the glory days in my book. VMware’s ESX was and still is a revolutionary product. Back then it was the only product in the catalog, or the core product. This is when I was exposed to VMware and I loved it, I loved creating virtual machines with a few clicks of a mouse and then playing with the settings, or tearing them down just to rebuild them. This section being titled “Past” is not meant to dilute hypervisors reach today, or make it seem obsolete. vSphere is still very ingrained in what we do and is the first step to just about any mobility or multitenant solution.
Today, VMware is a multi-faceted company with a large portfolio of products and tools that only add to the virtualization experience for the customer. In today’s landscape, VMware not only provides the single pane of glass that is vCenter which we’ve become so accustomed to, but it also offers the vRealize suite. The vRealize Suite offers solutions such as vRealize Automation (vRA), vRealize Orchestrator (vRO), and vRealize Operations (vROps). vRealize Operations allows you to monitor your virtual infrastructure and other solutions through a single pane of glass by connection with vCenter through an adapter. While the vCenter Adapter allows you view vCenter objects, by connecting the vCenter Python Actions Adapter, your vROps instance to actually take action on some of the alerts and recommendations that are present. Cool stuff!
vRealize Suite & vCloud Suite
On top of the vRealize Suite of products, there’s VMware vCloud Suite, which couples both vRealize Suite and vSphere Compute Virtualization for a great set of tools to build out your private, public or hybrid cloud. The great thing about the vCloud Suite is that it doesn’t confine you to VMware’s Cloud offering, it allows you to build and manage both vSphere-based private clouds as well as multi-vendor hybrid clouds (think AWS, Microsoft Azure, etc.). With vCloud Air, you can move your enterprise VMs to the public cloud seamlessly, where before you were constrained by the walls of your datacenter, vCloud Air provides workload portability.
Let’s cover the latest acquisitions too. In 2012, VMware acquired Nicira Networks which later became VMware NSX. NSX provides a software defined networking solution that makes virtual networking much easier to build out and manage. NSX embeds networking and security functionality that is typically handled in hardware directly into the hypervisor. The acquisition that has really helped propel VMware into the business mobility world came in 2014, when they acquired AirWatch. Based out of Atlanta, Georgia, AirWatch provides mobile device management and enterprise mobility management. I’ve done several AirWatch posts, read them to catch up if you haven’t heard of them yet. As of 2016, AirWatch has been fully rebranded to VMware AirWatch and continues to be the leader in enterprise mobility. With recently announced support of iOS 10 same day support, users with eligible devices can upgrade to iOS 10 with no AirWatch management interruptions. With tools like Mobile Access Gateway, Secure Email Gateway and Cloud Connector, AirWatch has allowed employees to have all the business mobility they need with the added security to keep corporate data from getting into the wrong hands.
Horizon, Identity Manager & Workspace ONE
VMware Horizon is another incredible feather in VMware’s mobility cap, which allows you to take your normal hardware desktops and transform them into digital workspaces that are available on demand, regardless of your location. In effect, Horizon unchained you from your desk and makes working remotely a much better situation. With Horizon you can provision virtual desktops or applications through your virtual desktop infrastructure. To put the cherry on top, VMware release the VMware Identity Manager solution which serves as an identity provider that integrates with your on-premise identity providers (think AD) so you can authenticate users across SaaS, Native Mobile and other apps in your catalog. Identity Manager with AirWatch allows VMware to push their Workspace ONE app to the employees in order to have a one stop shop of all their pertinent corporate applications.
The future is here… ok, I just wanted to say that. Seriously though, it’s hard to talk about the future without pointing out how VMware has time and again defined it for us. VMware is defining our workplace mobility future. With AirWatch Connect 2016 coming to an end today, it’s exciting to think about what will be on display for the future. One of the reports that I honestly found a little confusing is VMware AirWatch’s support for enterprise smart glasses… “enterprise smart glasses”, really?? This is odd giving the fact that Google killed its own Google Glass project altogether last year, but with VMware you never know how it will utilize a product in its ecosystem to the benefit of the end user and enterprise architecture. I’m excited for the future, and interested to see how VMware’s products evolve with the user’s mobility needs.