Workspace Environment Management with Horizon

Feb 27, 2015


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By Sachin Sharma, Product Marketing, End-User Computing, VMware

A constant theme I hear when talking to customers about managing their virtual, physical, and cloud-hosted environments tends to center around the challenges they face with applications and users. In particular, the questions that customers are looking to solve are ones like how can I simplify management of my 100s of apps throughout their lifecycle, from provisioning, to updating, to dealing with app conflicts? How can I optimize delivery of applications to all the different environments, devices, and users I manage?  How can I drive down costs of managing user personas while delivering a consistent experience across devices? And these are just some of the questions I hear. Well, we’ve been working to help tackle these challenges with a complete Workspace Environment Management solution using our Horizon technologies.

What is Workspace Environment Management? It’s an end-to-end approach to application and end-user management across physical, virtual, and cloud-hosted desktop environments. This approach enables IT organizations to effectively isolate and deliver applications in real-time, monitor performance, and map persona and policies to best meet end-user requirements across devices and locations. These capabilities allow IT to simplify producing and delivering applications and user policies, and end-users to consume applications as a service independent of device and location. Bridget Botelho from Tech Target has a complementary explanation in her Q&A with Harry Labana, VP Products for EUC at VMware.


Workspace Environment Management


So, how does VMware fit into this space? By using a variety of technologies available in Horizon, VMware is uniquely positioned to help customers deliver and manage apps and end-users across any environment. These environments can be virtual, physical, and even cloud-hosted. Horizon enables applications to effectively be isolated, delivered, published and monitored in real-time. This in turn helps optimize the way organizations manage workspace environments, along with driving down infrastructure and management costs. Let’s take a look at what this means in the context of the Horizon offering…

App Isolation and Delivery

To begin–using VMware ThinApp, apps can be isolated so as to avoid app conflicts, or running legacy apps on newer operating systems for example. App isolation helps lower TCO by reducing or eliminating the need to install applications when needed. Simply isolate the apps to run independent of the underlying OS.

With Horizon, apps and desktops can be provisioned using a single and secure platform via Horizon RDSH capabilities. This includes published applications and desktops. With our latest release of Horizon, we now offer full RDS Hosted Apps support, Windows Media Multimedia Redirection (MMR), Scanner Redirection, and HTML Access for RDS desktops. These capabilities help streamline management for better user experience across the WAN.

A key component of WEM is application delivery. VMware has optimized application delivery to virtual and physical desktops, and even RDSH and XenApp servers. With VMware App Volumes, IT can instantly deliver applications to virtual desktops (see video below), RDSH servers, and XenApp servers in real-time with lifecycle management.

App Volumes virtualizes above the OS with VMDK or VHD files that attach to a user or virtual desktop via an AppStack. App Volumes has a one to many delivery scheme that helps organizations lower their storage capacity by 30%. Just use one VMDK or VDH file, full of applications, to attach to many users or desktops! IT can benefit from the lower costs of maintaining a non-persistent environment, while delivering a seamless end-user experience across environments. For physical and BYO scenarios, VMware Mirage provides dynamic layering that helps quickly deliver updates to operating systems and applications. Our customers have been able to reduce their device management time by nearly 67% with Mirage.

User Environment Management

Another critical component of WEM is something that we announced at PEX this year – our acquisition of Immidio. Immidio offers a user environment management (UEM) solution. IT can deliver personalization and dynamic policy configuration to end users across any virtual, physical, and cloud-based environment.  The Immidio solution simplifies end-user profile management by providing organizations with a simple and scalable solution that requires no additional infrastructure – a huge cost savings compared to other UEM solutions. IT can simply map infrastructure (including networks and printers) and dynamically set policies for end users. For example, map policies according to location, which you can see in the third part of the video below.

With this solution, end users can also enjoy quick access with a personalized and consistent experience across devices and locations. For example, changing personalization settings on apps can persist across devices, as we illustrate in the second part of the video above. The net effect—organizations leveraging Immidio can increase workplace productivity while driving down the cost of acquisition and day-to-day desktop support and operations.

Up to this point, I’ve illustrated how we are able to isolate, provision, and deliver applications, while simplifying management of user’s profiles across different devices and locations. Another component of WEM includes application access. End users should be able to access their apps and desktops through a unified workspace. VMware offers this through our Workspace Portal. With single-sign on and the ability to access all SaaS apps, ThinApps, XenApps, RDSH Apps, and virtual desktops, this is the one stop shop for accessing applications. End users can enjoy personalized access to all of their applications through a secure, unified workspace with a consistent experience across devices and locations.

Application Maintenance and Monitoring

Now that we’ve highlighted the key components of Horizon that make up WEM, let’s take a look at the natural process of app maintenance and monitoring. We simplify app maintenance by making it a repeatable process. Let’s say you have to update a patch on an application like Firefox. You simply update the application via AppStacks or Layers. Or if you need to isolate Firefox, just update it using ThinApp. Then use the delivery mechanism of choice to the preferred platform of choice, and voila, Firefox has been updated and the end-user can consume the app. IT can even proactively monitor app and desktop performance using vRealize Operations, which you can see in the video below. IT can help reduce support calls and provide better end-user experience by remediating based on proactive alerts and in-guest metrics.


Using these technologies available through Horizon, you can enable Workspace Environment Management in your environment. Now you can help your organization drive application and end-user management transformation using Horizon. For more information, I encourage you to visit us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or check out the Mobility section of our hands on labs.



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