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Keep an eye on Project Enzo, Horizon 6 at VMworld 2015

With VMworld 2015 right around the corner, VMware will likely display its latest innovations in desktop virtualization. Look for Project Enzo to steal some of the buzz away from Citrix's Workspace Cloud offering.

IT shops can expect plenty of substance at VMworld 2015, including a first look at VMware's cloud-hosted virtual workspace platform Project Enzo, and potential updates to its Horizon 6 suite.

In the past, both Citrix and VMware have been guilty of bombastically announcing products and features meant simply to one-up the buzz created by the other company at their respective show. On one hand, it makes sense -- both Citrix Synergy and VMworld are marketing events first and foremost -- but the "ready, fire, aim" approach to product announcements often left us IT folks twisting in the wind.

Thankfully, those days are long gone. For the last few years, the major shows have been a bit more responsible in their product announcements, both in terms of keeping them realistic and by delivering on them year-over-year. You can bet that at VMworld 2015 there will be some shots fired across Citrix's bow (you could even see Citrix return fire), but look for VMware to land a few headlines with actual technology and not just ideas. Here's what I'm looking for at the show:

Will this be the year VMware finally jumps into app refactoring (and ahead of Citrix)?

Project Enzo

Announced on the first day of Citrix Synergy 2015 in May, VMware Project Enzo was meant to steal some of the thunder away from Citrix's Workspace Cloud (CWC) unveiling. VMware didn't want people running around the show getting demos of CWC, and then publicly asking "What's VMware's plan going to be?" Instead we conference-goers said, "Wow, this looks great. I wonder how Enzo will compare."

Announcing a product is one thing, but now we'll finally get a look at Project Enzo, which is similar but not identical to CWC. Project Enzo provides a cloud-based management plane to build and deliver virtual workspaces. So far, the only really new feature appears to be Project Enzo's integration with hyper-converged appliances.  This enables point-and-click setup, but it also looks as if VMware has tied in many of its other offerings, such as Mirage, AppVolumes, Horizon, and Horizon Air. I have more questions than answers at this point, but I expect that to change at the show.

Horizon 6

VMware has been hard at work adding features to its Citrix XenApp competitor, Horizon 6 (which is technically the name for VMware's entire suite of products that also includes Horizon View). On the BrianMadden.com podcast last week, we joked that even though the feature gap between Horizon 6 and XenApp is large, half VMware's work is already done because the company doesn't have to figure out which features to add. VMware simply has to look at the list of features in XenApp and then "just do that." We'll no doubt see a narrower gap between the two products at the show.

Mobility surprises?

I've written a lot about application refactoring, and I believe it's only a matter of time until Citrix and VMware each acquire refactoring companies.   App refactoring extends the lives of Windows applications by delivering them to mobile devices in a native user interface. Adding refactoring to VMware's product line makes too much sense for it not to happen eventually. Will this be the year VMware finally jumps into app refactoring (ahead of Citrix)?

VMworld 2015 will no doubt include some interesting announcements from vendors, and we'll be canvassing the floor looking for anything that sticks out from both new and existing vendors.

What else should I be on the lookout for? Leave a note in the comments, and watch for updates from the show.

This was last published in August 2015

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