VMware to offer enterprise application portal

VMware will offer enterprise software that allows employees to access all their desktop Windows applications and online services from a single portal, the company announced Wednesday.

The company has also updated its View VDI (virtual desktop interface) software and will release new beta software for providing a central repository for storing and sharing files. Collectively, these programs should better allow employees to use their preferred devices to do their jobs — a practice known as BYOD (bring your own device) — while still giving IT administrators the ability to control the user environment, said Vittorio Viarengo, VMware vice president of end user computing.

By having their employees access all their applications from a portal, an organization can offer single sign on capability, keep track of employee application usage and allow employees to use multiple machines, such as home computers, when working.

The portal software is a new version of VMware’s Horizon Application Manager. Version 1.5 will be the first that enterprises can run on their internal servers. Until now, VMware only offered Horizon as a hosted 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 organisation 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 organisation’s own user directory, the software keeps track of the user’s credentials and can log on the user to the requested software automatically.

The company is also updating VMware View VDI software. The newly released version 5.1 includes the ability to cache frequently accessed data in server memory. It also updates its migration service, called Personal Management, that allows users to move their data from their physical Windows machines to the virtual Windows machines. The service then will keep the data on the two desktops synchronized. The new version of View also improves the slow video performance that has hampered earlier versions of the software, and updated the USB interface so more USB devices will be recognized.

The company is also planning to release software that offers the file sharing capabilities of consumer services such as Dropbox, but is deployed inside an enterprise network. Project Octopus, as it is now known, gives employees a central location to store files that then can be accessed from all their devices. It keeps all the versions of a file, if the file is updated. Administrators can also get reports on which files have been downloaded or updated. The files can be accessed from Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and Linux.

VMware is offering Octopus as a free beta software to selected customers. It has not set a release date for the full production version.

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