Expect answers about VMware AppBlast, Horizon at VMworld 2012

At VMworld 2012, attendees can expect VMware to provide some answers about what AppBlast is for and how Mirage might integrate with VMware View.

VMworld 2012 is just a few weeks away, and you can tell by the radio silence out of Palo Alto, Calif., that VMware

is saving announcements and releases for the show. Let's look inside the crystal ball and see what the company might announce this year.

One thing VMware has announced is the acquisition of Nicira, and you can't ignore $1.26 billion investments, can you? Then there's Pat Gelsinger taking over for Paul Maritz as CEO (which will actually happen after VMworld is over) -- and you can't ignore that change either. What's most interesting to me, though, is what VMware isn't talking about right now: technology.

On that note, here are some technology announcements and releases I expect from VMworld 2012.

What's up with AppBlast

Announced at VMworld 2011 in San Francisco, VMware has been pretty quiet about AppBlast in the 11 months since. The remote application delivery product had a bit of an enigmatic start, with VMware saying "it works with everything" while showing the same demo of Excel running on an iPad.

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After some exploring, we learned that it was an HTML5 client using JavaScript and Canvas to render Excel in the browser and that VMware AppBlast works outside the virtual machine (VM). In theory, being outside the VM means AppBlast could remotely display any OS that can be virtualized.

It sounds cool, but the message was mixed. We also heard that VMware AppBlast doesn't require virtualization. If that's the case, then how does it work outside the VM? Will it be used as a Remote Desktop Session Host solution that sends seamless applications hosted in the data center to endpoints? Will it be incorporated into Horizon so users can access AppBlast apps from anywhere? Will it be a standalone product or part of VMware View? 

I expect this and other aspects of VMware AppBlast to become abundantly clear at VMworld 2012 now that the company has had a year to work on the technology. 

Wanova Mirage integration with View

The ink on the VMware-Wanova deal has only just dried, so I don't expect to see a whole lot of product integration yet. But I do expect a roadmap of how VMware anticipates using the Wanova Mirage technology going forward. While we don't know exactly how Mirage will fit into View, we do know that VMware intends to keep Mirage as a product for physical desktops as well (although that doesn't necessarily mean it will remain available as a standalone product).

The best reason I can come up with for integrating Mirage with View is to replace or augment View Composer with Mirage's layering technology. There could also be some integration with the broker so that images are streamed to the appropriate places on the fly from relatively inexpensive storage, as opposed to relying on expensive and complex storage technologies. That could even mean streaming the same image to physical desktops since Wanova's technology allows them to be hardware-independent.

Mirage is a very comprehensive product, so those ideas are just the tip of the iceberg. More than anything else, I'm looking forward to seeing this roadmap at VMworld 2012, especially because it indicates that VMware is finally paying attention to desktops that aren't running as VMs

Evolving Horizon Mobile

VMware has to do something with Horizon to keep up with Citrix Receiver. VMware Horizon is a Web service that aggregates application access to one location, handling authentication and identity federation. It provides users with access to applications that live as ThinApp packages, remote desktop apps, internal Web apps or Software as a Service apps.

When VMware announced Horizon Mobile last year, the world got to see a hypervisor on a phone. It was a cool party trick, but who wants to run two phone OSes, pay for two plans and have to deal with virtualizing hardware that wasn't meant to be virtualized? It's the wrong technology for the job -- like trying to hammer a screw.

So, I think we'll see a change in Horizon Mobile that will direct it more toward mobile application management (MAM) and away from trying to virtualize everything. In fact, a tool more like Citrix Receiver (which is increasingly about MAM) would befit the Horizon's name much better.

Keep an eye out next week for part two of my VMworld 2012 predictions.

This was first published in August 2012

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