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Post-PC era VMware banks on cloud computing, mobile

VMware is watching end users closely and aligning its latest projects on mobile devices and cloud computing.

Mobile, social and location services drive applications. And with end users accessing corporate data on personal mobile devices, IT teams are left to figure out information governance policies.

Enterprises are moving in a direction where the endpoints are increasingly wireless mobile devices that consume always-on, anytime, anywhere cloud services, said Kamesh Pemmaraju, cloud computing consultant for the Sand Hill Group. And VMware's recent products, released at VMworld last month -- AppBlast, Horizon Mobile, VXLAN and others -- were developed to do just that.

VMware AppBlast
If you want to run Windows applications on an iPad or Mac, you need to install client software and use a technology like Citrix XenApp to access the applications. VMware AppBlast enables any Windows, Mac or Linux application to be presented on any HTML5-compliant browser or device. You don't need to install any software agents on the client.

Essentially, AppBlast can remove Windows desktops from the equation by giving end users direct access to cloud-based applications. And removing this piece can help enterprises transition to cloud computing.

Horizon Mobile
Horizon Mobile is a virtual machine (VM) that bundles a work phone inside an end user's personal phone. For example, you have a personal phone as well as a secondary phone running in a VM (Android-base) on top of the native operating system. The secondary phone is the corporate environment.

For Horizon Mobile to work, mobile network operators (MNOs) have to load modules from the hypervisor onto phones. Once users buy the phones, they can download the VMware application that allows them to have a personal phone and a corporate phone on a single phone.

Enterprise users can purchase their own devices and run a separate version of the Android OS dedicated to their corporate applications. This isolates corporate applications, such as email, from applications downloaded for personal use, which have the potential to corrupt corporate data.

If you lose the phone or leave the company, the IT department wipes the corporate applications and data. The management software allows IT managers to push applications to the phone and set policies for the corporate profile on the phone.

VMware plans to support Android-based tablets in the future. But support beyond Android devices is hazy. Will Horizon Mobile ever be extended to iPhone? This may be difficult with Apple's control to penetrate the market. Apple would have to approve an app that was a whole other copy of iOS or that runs Android.

Enterprises are moving in a direction where the endpoints are increasingly wireless mobile devices.

Kamesh Pemmaraju, cloud computing consultant, Sand Hill Group

Currently, virtual resources such as storage and compute are limited to the constraints of a single physical network within a single physical data center. Even when tools such as VMware vMotion move workloads or VMs from machine to machine, movement is restricted to a single physical data center.

Because networking uses an IP address as a location as well as for identity, this restricts a VM from moving around easily. VXLAN (Virtual Extensible LAN) enables a VM to keep its IP configuration after it moves to another data center network, allowing administrators to move the VM from one cloud computing provider to another.

While VXLAN can reduce limitations on moving VMs from one data center to another, it also raises a few questions:

  • What skills to IT teams, particularly networking professionals, need to support this functionality?
  • Will other networking vendors support VXLAN? How many organizations need to move workloads from one data center to another?
  • How useful is VXLAN in hybrid environments where cloud interoperability is a big issue. In such environments, IT teams may need to move VMs running various applications from one cloud services provider to another. And those clouds may have differing hypervisors, storage and network architectures.

Bill Claybrook is a marketing research analyst with over 35 years of experience in the computer industry with the last dozen years in Linux, Open Source and Cloud Computing. Bill was Research Director, Linux and Open Source, at The Aberdeen Group in Boston and a competitive analyst/Linux product-marketing manager at Novell. He is currently President of New River Marketing Research and Directions on Red Hat. He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science.

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