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More VMware analytics coming to EUC products, CTO says

The Citrix vs. VMware rivalry is expanding into analytics. VMware's CTO of end-user computing says analytics will help IT better secure applications and data.

BOSTON -- Analytics is shaping up to be the next frontier for the Citrix vs. VMware rivalry.

IT must be able to use the abundance of information on user behavior, device performance and more to identify problems and fix them before they cause real disturbances. Citrix last week launched its answer to that problem, Citrix Analytics Service, which combines artificial intelligence and machine learning to help IT glean new insights. VMware acquired Apteligent, a mobile app analytics vendor, earlier in the month; more VMware analytics moves are on the way, said Shawn Bass, the company's CTO of end-user computing.

"There's an immense amount of a data flying around about who users are, what they're accessing, what devices they're on, what networks they're on," he said. "All that information can be surfaced in intelligent ways to secure company data and applications."

Bass spoke to SearchVirtualDesktop here at the Boston VMware User Group UserCon, where he discussed other developments in the Citrix vs. VMware rivalry, the move to the cloud and more.

Shawn Bass, CTO of end-user computing, VMwareShawn Bass

What is VMware doing to stay competitive with Citrix?

Shawn Bass: A little over a year ago, there were a small number of capabilities Citrix had that we did not have. One of the big ones was [support for] Skype for Business. We're [making it generally available] this month, so that will put us on equal footing ... in unified communications.

In the protocol space, we've come such a long way with Blast Extreme Adaptive Transport. We have been matching innovations that Citrix has and, in many cases, adding new things they don't have, like our Instant Clones capability [and] our App Volumes capability.

What is the roadmap for Horizon?

Bass: We're extending Horizon Cloud onto the Azure platform. This is us actually decoupling Horizon from vSphere Fundamentals and delivering it on a third-party cloud. That's something we had not done in the past. We are doing it in the interest of our mutual customers that have an interest in using Azure. We want to make sure we can embrace customers no matter where they want to run our software.

What is VMware doing to help customers move to cloud-based management?

Bass: Workspace One is a leap in how we converge the technologies we have around desktop, mobile and identity.

From the standpoint of how are we encouraging people, we don't really have to. They're doing it on their own. We're simply gluing together the on-prem infrastructure with the cloud infrastructure and making a blended experience no matter what device they're using. We're just bringing some tools that make it a bit easier to consume whatever stage they're in of that hybrid model.

What do you think is the most critical challenge for customers around EUC right now?

We are leading with Workspace One ... but that doesn't mean we won't have stand-alone sales of AirWatch and Horizon.
Shawn BassCTO of end-user computing, VMware

Bass: There's still a lot of siloing of activities. People have developed teams of expertise, and, in many cases, they get a little protective about their world. IT needs to take a step back. It might be advantageous for you, the guy that manages the mobile devices, to be the only guy that manages mobile devices. From the company's point of view, it's far more beneficial if the company has a single platform that does desktop, mobile, SaaS [software as a service]. Be willing to sacrifice your expertise in one particular area to save the company millions of dollars, to make the user experience better, to make users happier.

How can customers save money with VDI?

Bass: A lot of challenges with centralized virtual desktops started to go away. The data networks got faster. The remoting protocols got better. And storage got largely commoditized through things like deduplication and virtual SAN technologies and all-flash arrays. It's really brought the cost of running a high-performance virtual desktop down to what I consider on par with a physical desktop. What you spend on the raw capital is easily offset by some of the operational savings you make within VDI. It's far easier to do things in one location in a predictable way than dealing with distributing software and having machines that are out of compliance in a distributed environment.

Is it possible AirWatch becomes less of stand-alone product and gets folded into Workspace One?

Bass: No. There's still a very strong brand around AirWatch. At the same token, we recognize the world is no longer bifurcated -- you're a desktop guy, you're a mobile guy. People have to know both worlds. This is not about a mobile-only delivery or a desktop-only delivery. It's a user-centric delivery that happens to cross a whole bunch of devices. On those lines, we are leading with Workspace One, and this is how the user experience should be. But that doesn't mean we won't have stand-alone sales of AirWatch and Horizon.

Next Steps

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