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VMware marries AirWatch, Horizon 6 in new Workspace Suite

After months of speculation, VMware Workspace Suite brings together VMware's EUC pieces in one place, not long after rival Citrix launched a similar platform.

SAN FRANCISCO -- VMware's strategy to integrate its end user computing pieces AirWatch and Horizon 6 will lead to a new suite of services with a familiar name.

The VMware Workspace Suite furthers a trend in the end user computing (EUC) market in giving IT admins one place for management through its enterprise mobility management platform AirWatch, its desktop virtualization tool Horizon and AirWatch's Secure Content Locker for collaboration.

Ever since VMware closed its $1.54 billion acquisition of AirWatch last year, questions remained over how VMware would integrate its largest purchase. Those questions intensified after VMware introduced Horizon 6 with Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH) application publishing to compete with Citrix XenApp.

VMware executives acknowledged integrations between AirWatch and VMware products are incomplete, but the details released here at this week's VMworld are the most comprehensive to date.

VMware Workspace Suite will give mobile users access to applications through single sign-on with applications living in the VMware Workspace Portal and appearing in the AirWatch application catalogue. Resource management is automated and monitored on both public and private clouds through the vCloud Automation Center and vCenter Operations Manager.

VMware follows Citrix as the latest tech vendor to introduce a set of products with the word "workspace". Earlier this year Citrix launched its own Citrix Workspace Suite that similarly balances mobile management through XenMobile and VDI/RDSH products in XenDesktop and XenApp. Amazon also has its desktop as a service product, Workspaces.

Whether the adoption of these sweeping, all-inclusive EUC suites  gains momentum remains to be seen , according to Todd Knapp, CTO and founder of Envision Technology Advisors, an IT consultancy in Pawtucket, R.I.

Many customers know they must manage the endpoints under a single pane of glass, but they don't know how to articulate that need, Knapp said. That inability to articulate may change when a new product hits the market.

"I think that a lot of times in our industry when someone presents a product that addresses that kind of inarticulate need, all the sudden it crystalizes everyone's vision of what they actually want," he said.

The idea of using a product like VMware Workspace Suite to manage over 40,000 devices in one  environment is enticing, according to an EUC architect, who requested anonymity.

"If I can do Macs, iPhones, Androids and everything else in one spot, that's good for sure," he said.

AirWatch, Horizon 6 coming together

Details of AirWatch's integration into VMware's EUC products are expected at next month's AirWatch Connect conference. During a session here this week, VMware executives gave a sneak peek of what's to come, including a feature with a single application catalogue where AirWatch will be connected to various applications including Horizon desktop and other applications.

"You can now use AirWatch to launch apps that are Horizon desktop and SaaS apps that are coming from Workspace," said Jens Koerner, product manager at VMware. "AirWatch connects to the Workspace catalogue and surfaces them in their application catalogue."

Additionally, AirWatch furthered an existing partnership with SAP around delivering mobile applications. SAP's enterprise app store users can use AirWatch's enterprise mobility management platform to utilize SAP-built applications under the partnership.

All aspects of the VMware Workspace Suite remain available on their own, including the different aspects of AirWatch and Horizon 6, a company spokesman said. Included in VMware Workspace Suite will be all aspects of Horizon 6 and the "yellow bundle" of AirWatch, which includes the enterprise suite with all of AirWatch's features.

VMware Workspace Suite is available now at $450 per user, the same price as Citrix’s Workspace Suite.

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