Column

One year later and still no VMware AppBlast: What's the story?

After hoping and praying for more information about Project AppBlast, I remain unclear on how VMware will fold this tool into its desktop and end-user computing offerings.

Heading into VMworld 2012

    Requires Free Membership to View

last week, I was looking forward to getting some news about two projects announced at last year's show: AppBlast and Octopus. Octopus, while not yet released, is essentially a corporate Dropbox. When released, it will be renamed Horizon Data and included in the Horizon Suite that combines Octopus, ThinApp, Horizon Application Manager and Horizon Mobile.

AppBlast, which delivers desktops and seamless applications via HTML5, was essentially a no-show.  It will be folded into the Horizon Suite as well, but the company hasn't explained how AppBlast technology will be implemented or which tool it will be a part of. Still, I was able to take away a few important bits of information.

AppBlast: Feature, not product

First, I learned, VMware AppBlast is not a product.

After AppBlast barely received a mention in the end-user computing keynote, I tracked down some VMware employees and asked where it was. Besides hearing that "it's coming" and "we're really close," there was one thing that became abundantly clear: AppBlast is not a product, and it will not be released as an add-on or upgrade. Instead, AppBlast is a feature, and when the technology is turned loose, it will be part of some other VMware product.

More on Project AppBlast

Expect answers about AppBlast, Horizon at VMworld

A look at VMware AppBlast

Horizon Suite could trump VDI for mobile app delivery

Exactly which product remains a mystery.

It seems that the biggest hang-up is deciding where VMware AppBlast should live. Should it be part of VMware View? If so, how is an HTML5 client positioned against PCoIP?  Or, is it part of Horizon to provide a way to deliver any desktop or application to any device without Citrix XenApp? Keep in mind, XenApp support was officially announced for Horizon at last week's show.

The bottom line is that the Project AppBlast technology exists, but it's still looking for a home within the Horizon Suite. Perhaps we'll see an update during VMworld Europe in October in Barcelona.

AppBlast is pure HTML5

The other interesting thing about VMware AppBlast is that the technology has been noted as being "pure HTML5." The way all HTML5 solutions on the market work today is that they do some sort of transcoding (or re-encoding) of the remote protocol data so it can be sent via WebSockets and processed by a JavaScript in the remote browser. Think of it as your cable box taking in one signal from the cable company and sending out another signal via HDMI to your TV.

This process, as you might imagine, is not that efficient. It requires a gateway to sit between the virtual desktop (or terminal server) that makes a connection via the native protocol, then translates that into data that can be sent to the browser. During this process, certain features such as sound, WAN optimization and media redirection are cut out because the browser doesn't support them.

VMware AppBlast, on the other hand, is said to directly take the video from the virtual desktop and encode that in such a way that the VMware-built AppBlast JavaScript client can interpret it. This approach removes the middle man and eliminates the translation that other tools use. This, I believe, is how AppBlast can work with Mac and Linux in addition to Windows.

What remains to be seen, though, is what advantages running as pure HTML5 gives the end user. The limitations still exist where the browser can't match a native client in terms of functionality. There's still the issue with media redirection and sound, too.

We may know a little more about VMware AppBlast, but the experience and actual implementation are still an enigma.

This was first published in September 2012

There are Comments. Add yours.

 
TIP: Want to include a code block in your comment? Use <pre> or <code> tags around the desired text. Ex: <code>insert code</code>

REGISTER or login:

Forgot Password?
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy
Sort by: OldestNewest

Forgot Password?

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

Your password has been sent to:

Disclaimer: Our Tips Exchange is a forum for you to share technical advice and expertise with your peers and to learn from other enterprise IT professionals. TechTarget provides the infrastructure to facilitate this sharing of information. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or validity of the material submitted. You agree that your use of the Ask The Expert services and your reliance on any questions, answers, information or other materials received through this Web site is at your own risk.