What’s on the Horizon

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Horizon on Mobile

At VMWorld and at Open Mobile Summit this year, VMware showed off a new product currently code-named Horizon. While some websites are calling Horizon a mobile platform that creates a “phone within a phone,” Horizon is much more than that. Think of whatever computing device you have in your hands as a window to your applications and data. Think of an unwalled version of iCloud. Think of a way to access applications built for a specific operating system from any other operating system.

In 2010, Michael Angelo and I talked about The Consumerization of IT at the RSA security conferences in San Francisco and London in our “Bring your own computer to work” session.

A year later, the trend of employees bringing their own devices into the office is not showing any signs of slowing down and no matter what VMware thinks Horizon is, I think it’s not only a solution to the problem of personal devices in the enterprise, but is a kicker for your business continuity plan.

Horizon is not one product, but is a combination of many disparate technologies developed or acquired by VMware. It includes elements of vSphere, desktop virtualization, a Type 2 hypervisor, and ThinApp (nee Thinstall).

Under the hood of a modern automobile, there are hundreds of parts and a handful of computers that no one person can understand. But press the accelerator and the car sprints down the highway.

Horizon is similar. There are dozens of point products hidden under a single management console. If VMware pulls this off, IT administrators will move from managing devices to managing users. Whether SAP, Oracle, Micosoft Office, custom Mac or PC applications, or a mobile app, Horizon will manage access to all of them in a device-agnostic manner.

No matter what device he or she is using, your employee will have a safe, secure, corporate sandbox that keeps their personal life separated from their business life, including apps and

Across All Devices

data. When an employee is terminated, the corporate sandbox and all of the information in it is deleted from all of their devices, whether Mac, PC, or mobile.

What does your company do to protect corporate assets when an employee with a personal device leaves the company? Do you have a way to wipe the device of only corporate data? What about your corporate address book, emails, and spreadsheets containing next year’s revenue projections? Are you beginning to see the need for Horizon?

I also said that Horizon would make a great business continuity product. Citrix and IBM introduced a virtualized business continuity product a few years back called Virtual Workplace Continuity, but axed it when they had a bad quarter.

If your employees access all of their apps and data in the cloud, it obviously doesn’t matter where they are physically. All they need is power and an Internet connection. That means you can move your employees to another building, fixed recovery center, mobile recovery center, or hotel and keep the business running. As a BC professional, this is one aspect of Horizon that I really want to see emphasized in addition to the security benefits.

So what do you think? Join the conversation by adding your comment below.

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