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VMware is betting that IT will want an integrated approach to manage data, devices, applications and identity as organizations transition from a Windows-centric world to a cloud and mobile infrastructure.

The release of VMware's Horizon Workspace 1.5 from beta this week is another step toward that vision. Workspace provides a single portal that oversees both Horizon Application Manager, which lets IT control single sign-on user access to Software as a Service (SaaS) applications, and Horizon Data, a mobile file-sharing application.

Horizon Workspace 1.5 brings several new features, including support for Oracle databases, an integrated management console for Android devices, support for mobile applications that allows admins to manage mobile apps alongside Windows applications, and a cross-component policy management engine.

Horizon Workspace is one component of VMware's end-user computing management product, Horizon Suite, which has View and Mirage to manage both virtual and physical desktops. As part of the Workspace release, Horizon Mobile is now officially integrated into the Horizon Suite and is now available on Samsung Galaxy S3 and S4 Android devices from Verizon Wireless.

"If VMware executes on its vision, the Horizon suite will provide a single, IT-controlled point of entry for employees to access their entire work experience -- desktop, applications and data -- on any device," said Brian Knudtson, a solutions architect for a large Midwestern enterprise technology provider, in a previously published SearchVMware column.

It's a long road to that vision. Horizon Workspace does not integrate with Mirage, which has its own management console for physical desktops at this time. Horizon Data does not integrate with third-party file storage providers, such as Box, SkyDrive or Dropbox, that users are storing files in.

Further, many View shops have yet to upgrade to the full Horizon Suite, despite aggressive pricing, because they don't need the integrated capabilities for managing virtual desktops, mobile devices and physical Windows images.

That integration between Windows computing and the future of mobile and SaaS apps, however, represents VMware's vision for end-user computing centered on the management of access, data and identity, said Ben Goodman, VMware's end-user computing evangelist.

Unfortunately, that means recent acquisitions such as SlideRocket, a cloud-based presentation application, and Zimbra, a cloud-based email application, don't fit within the overall end-user computing (EUC) strategy and have been sold off as a result. Another component to that EUC vision is the pending integration of SocialCast, VMware's enterprise social platform acquired in 2011 -- around the same time as SlideRocket and Zimbra -- into the Horizon Suite.

"It's reasonable to look at both and see them on a collision course," said Goodman, who noted that SocialCast's founder Timothy Young is now the product manager and head of the Horizon Workspace development.

"When you think about utilizing social as the glue to hold together loosely connected things like data, applications and identity, it becomes a really interesting concept for activity streams," Goodman added.

Workspace 1.5 costs $150 per user per year. The full Horizon Suite costs $300 per user per year.

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