Last year at VMworld, VMware previewed Project Horizon, its cloud-based management service, which is part of an effort to help companies embrace the cloud and the wealth of cloud applications currently available on the market. Today, VMware is announcing the first product release associated with that vision, the Horizon App Manager.
“We’re seeing all these iPads and tablets coming into the enterprise, and we’re also seeing a lot of SaaS adoption,” explains Noah Wasmer, Director of Product Management and Advanced Development at VMware. “I was asked to [launch] an initiative in advanced development to look at the next generation of computing.”
A big part of computing’s next generation is the phenomenon of users accessing an ever-growing number of applications from a myriad of devices, which is quickly making the days of device-centric computing a thing of the past. This presents a host of new challenges for administrators.
“[With] Salesforce and Trovix and SuccessFactors and Box.net coming into the enterprise, administrators are saying, ‘How do I secure this? How do I control them?’” says Wasmer. The Horizon App Manager helps administrators address these challenges with a tool that allows them to synchronize their existing users and groups from on-premises directory services into the cloud. “[This] will basically allow you to keep all your security and passwords behind the firewall but now be able to add app entitlement in the cloud.”
The service is priced at $30 per user per year, and it is intended to be extremely simple and intuitive to install. It also provides significant benefit for users by providing a single sign-on experience, eliminating the requirement to remember a slew of different passwords for each application.
“On the user portal, one of the things that we saw is that once users start using the service, they actually fall in love with it,” explains Wasmer. “Many of us have sticky notes or some way of trailing all these different passwords. Once you start using this, you start saying, ‘Wow. This is really how I want to work.’”
Horizon is a hosted service, and VMware expects to release new features and applications for it on a monthly basis. “We just really see cloud applications being the future…” says Wasmer. “VMware has been in the business of helping companies move from the private cloud into the public cloud, and we think this is an important step infrastructurally for us to help move them along.”