EMC’s virtualization virtuoso VMware is looking to carve out a bigger slice of the virtual desktop pie with the announcement of Horizon 6. Scheduled for GA later this quarter and licensed per named user or per concurrent user with prices starting at $250, Horizon 6 delivers published applications and desktops on a single platform, with centralized management of any type of enterprise application and desktop, including physical desktops and laptops, virtual desktops and applications and employee-owned PCs. It will come in three versions:
-Horizon View Standard Edition delivers simple, high-performance, VDI-based virtual desktops with a great user experience;
-Horizon Advanced Edition offers the lowest cost solution for published and virtual applications and desktops using optimized storage from VMware Virtual SAN, central image management and a unified workspace for managing and delivering all applications and desktops; and,
With this release, many organizations will now be able – for the first time – to see infrastructure cost parity between physical and virtual PCs, said the company. “(W)e firmly believe we can now begin to take concerns over capital costs out of the virtual desktop equation.”
Customers want to transform their applications and enterprise desktops for the Mobile Cloud Era — extending access to employees on any device, from anywhere via a comprehensive solution that is simple, secure and cost effective, said Sumit Dhawan, VP and GM, Desktop Products, End-User Computing, VMware, in a prepared statement. “VMware Horizon 6 addresses these issues and delivers amazing new capabilities to our customers at nearly the same cost as a traditional, physical desktop.”
Desktop costs are starting to get a little bit out of control, said Courtney Burry, Director of Product Marketing, End-User Computing, VMware. “We’re really helping our customers do what they need to do in a much more cost-effective way.”
The announcements, including the partnerships with industry leaders like Google and F5, offer a new way for organizations to consume desktop services, she said. “It’s no longer from an end user perspective one-size fits all.”
Last month VMware unveiled a cloud-based desktop service to deliver virtual desktops running on its vCloud Hybrid Service (vCHS). The desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) offering will provide full Windows desktops to end-users that can be accessed from laptops, desktops, zero/thin clients, Chromebooks, and mobile devices, for as little as $35 per month per user.
The enterprise-grade service broadens customer (and the company’s) options, according to VMware’s Josue Fontanez, Product Marketing Manager for DaaS. “Now you can purchase desktop as a service from VMware at a monthly subscription price,” and there’s an SLA of 99.99%, he added.
VMware is on a roll, reporting 13% year-over-year growth in 2013, and predicting an even better 2014, with growth in the 16-18% range. While it estimates the cloud computing market is worth $16 billion, its vCHS offering is now in competition with the likes of Amazon, Google, and Microsoft in the infrastructure-as-a-service market, companies that don’t like to lose and will continue to crank up the innovation and pricing pressures.
VMware said the market for cloud-hosted desktops will grow at 85% CAGR over the next 5 years and near $1 billion. That’s substantially lower than the forecast from Visiongain, which predicted growth in cloud-based VDI, particularly in the DaaS submarket, putting last year’s cloud-based VDI market at $13.4 billion.
When it comes to the desktop, regardless of whether it’s on-premise, or in motion, Citrix Systems can be added to the list of IaaS competitors. Speculating about today’s announcement, Gregg Moskowitz, an analyst for Cowen and Co., wrote on Monday that the introduction of a competitive offering by VMware, “even though we had expected this for some time, should provide an additional challenge to Citrix’s XenApp business. Still, we believe the impact of this product on Citrix’s financials will likely be limited.”
According to a recent analysis from Technology Business Research, VMware is committed to growing its End-user Computing (EUC) business. TBR believes the January appointments of Citrix Vice Presidents Bob Schultz (desktops and applications) and Sumit Dhawan (enterprise mobility) validate the EUC business among strategic Tier 1 channel partners, together with internal promotions, will enable the EUC specialist sales force and channel to deliver a compelling, business-led suite.
‘The potential for this team and its portfolio to deliver new growth opportunities for VMware customers and partners presents a potentially transformative opportunity for VMware to reinvent its brand in multiple markets and find the “next act” the company has sought for nearly two years.’ The company reported approximately 50% penetration of EUC offerings within its base of 500,000 customers and an expected 20% CAGR to the EUC marketplace to $8 billion.
‘VMware’s full end-user portfolio and solidified messaging give it the ability to manage the device through the data center. The ability helps to accelerate business outcomes by delivering more holistic management capabilities. Evolving from its technologist DNA will help VMware increase its appeal to emerging line-of-business buyers without losing its standing with customers in IT departments.’
Looking ahead for the next 12 months, TBR believes VMware will lean on newly acquired and organically developed assets (notably Desktone and vCHS, respectively) to drive toward elastic service capabilities for desktop and applications that enable a lower, more predictable cost structure for customers through greater choice and flexibility. ‘Integration of Horizon Suite and VMware Hybrid Cloud Service will make VMware’s desktop portfolio more appealing to service providers, expanding its addressable customer base and foothold in public and hybrid cloud environments.’
AirWatch CEO John Marshall also stated that VMware, which completed the $1.54 billion acquisition of the company back in February, has definitive plans to integrate the AirWatch enterprise mobility management (EMM) technology with VMware View and Horizon DaaS for its enterprise users. He said the short-term goals are to integrate AirWatch’s EMM tools with end user computing products and then focus on network virtualization and hybrid cloud offerings.
Ultimately , the integration will allow users to work on the same platform for both laptops and smartphones. Desktop management software will be the final piece of the puzzle, with full integration expected later this year.
“When you can combine our laptop capabilities with what [VMware is] doing on desktop as a service, app virtualization, desktop virtualization and the management component, you have some very exciting and compelling offerings there,” said Marshall. “There absolutely is a lot of excitement around what we can do together in the coming quarters with the Horizon platform.”
Writing about the acquisition, Enterprise Strategy Group Senior Analyst Mark Bowker noted that the purchase of AirWatch, a significant player in the MDM (mobile device management) space, speaks volumes to how serious they are about the opportunity in the mobility market. “Frankly, my bet is that its current offerings fell short of what these companies [some of the largest and most sophisticated businesses that are struggling with ways to embrace devices and manage the data on the devices all while driving improved productivity] required and they needed to make an investment or risk widening the gap from what the competition is offering today. They also likely saw how they can do some leapfrogging in the market at the same time.”
ESG Senior Principal Analyst Jon Oltsik, who focuses on all things security-related, agreed that AirWatch bolsters VMware’s play for endpoint computing as well with mobile complementing virtual desktop technology. He stated that there is plenty of market upside and integration opportunity for VMware and AirWatch. “If it can keep AirWatch focused on mobile market developments and execute on an integration strategy, VMware could really have an impact on an IT environment dominated by cloud and mobile.”
“When I talk to IT, what they’re really looking for is a solution that enable them to manage across their environment [on-premise, remote, mobile and cloud],” said Burry. “We want to be able to support all of that.”
Customer environments are increasingly mixed and we’re looking at it much more holistically, she added. “At the end of the day end users don’t care if they’re on a virtual machine or physical machine as long at they can get to where they need to”.
The Fiddly Bits (& Bytes)
To be released in three versions – Standard, Advanced and Enterprise – VMware Horizon 6 introduces new capabilities integrated into a single solution that centrally manages Windows applications and desktops and enables entire desktops or just applications to be delivered in a flexible manner to end-users: virtually for access from multiple locations and devices; physically by syncing the entire desktop image to end-user laptops for online and offline access; and securely by delivering applications and content in a managed secure container to support Bring Your Own (BYO) PC scenarios.
New capabilities include:
-Published Applications and Virtual Desktops Delivered Through A Single Platform;
-A Unified Workspace for Simplified Access;
-Storage Optimization with VMware Virtual SAN and Delivery from the Software-Defined Data Center;
-Closed-Loop Management and Automation;
-Central Image Management of Virtual, Physical and Employee-Owned PCs; and,
-Hybrid Cloud Delivery.
VMware Horizon 6 is expected to be available in Q2 2014 and is licensed per named user or per concurrent user with prices starting at $250.