VMware steps up mobile reach, wants to help Windows 10 adoption

At the heart of the partnership is Project A2, a new initiative being being previewed with the intention of accelerating Windows 10 adoption and upgrades for Windows PCs and apps.


SAN FRANCISCO---VMware has been actively pushing its "Any App, Any Device" strategy this week, and now the virtualization giant has shed more light on the projects behind that tagline.

"The mobile cloud has transformed business," asserted VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger. "Every form of GDP growth is being dominated by that Internet economy."

Specifying that Internet economy is worth 21 percent (or $8 trillion) of global GDP growth, Gelsinger stressed the urgency of bolstering cloud and data management infrastructures for mobile devices and apps worldwide, citing research that currently pegs an average of three mobile devices per person - a rate of which is projected to double again by 2020.

VMware kicked off the second day of its annual expo VMworld on Tuesday with a rapid fire series of product releases and demos -- described at one point as the corporation's own version of TED talks -- centered around a unified experience for app delivery and device management.

Spearheading that portfolio is VMware's new Identity Manager, boasted by its maker as the industry's "first Identity-as-a-Service" integrating enterprise-grade mobility management and security functionality.

The advanced edition of Identity Manager was followed up by version 6.2 of VMware Horizon for app delivery and virtual desktop infrastructures, which now include support for Skype for Business as well as the Nvidia Grid virtual graphics processing unit, which itself got an upgrade in time for VMworld earlier this week.

Along with boosted storage optimization, Horizon's security layers were bolstered with biometric fingerprint authentication on top of being prepped for more federal government compliance certifications.

Skype is only the just beginning of collaborations in the making between VMware and Microsoft as executives from both tech titans appeared on stage, going so far as to compare the warming relationship to that of President Reagan and the last leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev.

At the heart of the partnership is Project A2, a new initiative being being previewed with the intention of accelerating Windows 10 adoption and upgrades for Windows PCs and apps. Initially, the potential rewards would look more in Microsoft's favor.

But the VMware element goes back to the EMC-owned company's interest in mobile as VMware is encouraging Windows 10 adoption for keeping those apps and devices in line through VMware's AirWatch enterprise mobile management platform as well as its new VMware App Volumes (formerly known as Cloud Volumes) channel for real-time app delivery to desktops.

"With mobile phones, we have unlimited access. With the cloud, we have unlimited scale," Gelsinger posited. "Literally, we're able to have essentially unlimited resources to reach three billion devices in real-time."

Sumit Dhawan, senior vice president and general manager for desktop products and end-user computing at VMware, added VMware is already predicting many of its customers to adopt Windows 10 within the next six to 12 months, hinting at a major shift (and prime opportunity) for IT and software delivery.

"Bottom line, you will be able to seamlessly move existing physical Windows applications into the new Windows 10 mobile-cloud platform and apply an EMM approach across all applications (universal and classic Windows applications) and devices," Dhawan wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.

VMware's Identity Manager Advanced Edition, Horizon 6.2 and Horizon 6.2 for Linux are all scheduled to roll out during the third quarter of 2015.

"We're entering the professional era of the cloud, leaving the experimental era behind," Gelsinger said, describing that era to consist of one that encourages speed and growth through a unified hybrid cloud.

Screenshot from VMworld's product keynote video