VMware this week made life a bit easier for companies that need to address the bring-your-own-device movement. The company made a trio of announcements that collectively enable more types of devices to participate in a virtual desktop environment and ease the process of getting at applications and sharing data among devices.

This brings to fruition many of the promises VMware made back in August of last year at its VMworld event, including its Project Horizon app store technology, which is now available for use on enterprise networks, whereas previously it was a hosted service. As described by the IDG News Service

“The software provides a portal for users where they can access both cloud applications and Windows applications, which can be streamed through application virtualization software. VMware has set up relationships with about 20 SaaS (software as a service) providers, which provide the icons and connectivity to their services. VMware also offers a toolkit for administrators to connect the portal to other application providers. As an organization contracts with additional SaaS vendors, the administrator can add SaaS icons to the portals of the employees who will use the software. By tying in SAML (Security Access Markup Language) and OAuth with the organization’s own user directory, the software keeps track of the user’s credentials and can log on the user to the requested software automatically.”

So Horizon will provide a single place where users can access all their applications, along with single sign-on – an important consideration when you’re using a mix of apps from various third party providers, and trying to log on to them from your smartphone.

VMware also updated its virtual desktop platform, as reported by InfoWorld:

“The company unveiled Version 5.1 of VMware View, a point release of the VDI platform that promises to lighten the load on shared storage through smarter caching; broadens support for peripherals through a new USB stack; and includes updated clients for Mac, Windows, and Linux desktops, for thin and zero clients, as well as iPad, Android, and Kindle Fire tablets.”

Now you’ve got the ability to offer apps from an array of sources, both internal and third party SaaS apps, which users can access from pretty much whatever device they choose.

That covers most of the devices that employees are likely to use, and with improved performance. Finally, VMware addressed the ability to share files among all those devices and users, as InfoWorld reports:

Project Octopus, VMware’s version of an enterprise Dropbox, hit beta today. The much-talked about cloud storage and file sharing service lets employees share data and collaborate from any device.

Octopus also lets IT administrators govern usage and set policies for data access and sharing. It can be deployed on-premise in a vSphere environment or accessed through VMware service providers.

To sum up, now you’ve got the ability to offer apps from an array of sources, both internal and third party SaaS apps, which users can access from pretty much whatever device they choose. And, with Project Octopus, you’ve got an enterprise-level tool for enabling them to share data among those devices and with each other – one with security built in. Security, of course, is a big drawback to the consumer-oriented tools like Dropbox, so much so that some consider it one of the top mobile security challenges of the year, as we previously reported. Taken together, these announcements represent a significant step forward with respect to BYOD.



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