VMware intends to poach as many XenApp customers as it can, but it needs more user environment management tools to get the job done, and quickly. The easiest way is through an acquisition – and it’s got one in the works.
VMware is in talks to acquire Immidio, a small workspace virtualization management software company based in Amsterdam, to fill gaps within its user profile and App Volumes technologies, according to a source with knowledge of the deal. The deal has not been finalized, but if it goes through, it could close within weeks, the source said.
Immidio's Flex+ workspace virtualization tool delivers personalized Windows desktops that provide access to the IT resources as needed, based on a users' role, device and location. That tool includes Application Configuration Management, User Environment settings, Personalization, Application Migration and Dynamic Configuration.
The company also offers an enterprise app store and other tools.
Last year, VMware added app publishing akin to XenApp in Horizon 6. Industry experts expected VMware to acquire user management tools to get a leg up on Citrix, though some are surprised at the choice.
One VMware integrator based in the east coast has a number of clients that use desktop virtualization and he hoped VMware would grab a top user management technology.
"We have been in a world of partial solutions from VMware, and VMware is so close to being able to offer the real deal," he said. "I wish they would pony up and buy the right product; [Immidio] won't solve all the problems…And if it’s a money issue, its short sighted."
While VMware could acquire a big-name company like AppSense or Unidesk, a small, venture-backed company with technology that doesn't overlap with what VMware already has in Horizon and App Volumes (formerly CloudVolumes) makes sense, said Mike Matchett, a senior analyst with Taneja Group, Inc. in Hopkinton, Mass.
"Like when they bought Log Insight [in 2012] -- they bought a technology that was further down the line, instead of a Splunk or someone like that, because they didn't need a 'brand,' they just needed a technology," Matchett said.
"A company like AppSense or Liquidware Labs would come with some stuff they already have. But Immidio is a narrow plug-in that doesn’t have that type of overlap, probably at the right price point," he added.
While Immidio certainly isn’t the biggest persona management company, it is solid, said Simon Bramfitt, founder of Entelechy Associates in Concord, Calif. The minds behind Immidio are from Login Consultants, a well-respected end user computing technology company, also based in the Netherlands. Immidio's products meet many companies' needs, but it isn’t as mature as tools from companies like AppSense, Bramfitt said.
"XenApp can do everything apart from making you a cup of tea, while VMware Horizon is 'good enough.' In the same respect, AppSense can do anything, while Immidio is good enough," Bramfitt said.
"From VMware's perspective, [acquiring Immidio] is probably pocket change," Bramfitt said. "It seems like a good, practical choice for VMware to help compete with Citrix."
But with Immidio, VMware could allow its customers to deliver apps that float across infrastructures, on-premises or cloud, with profiles following them, Matchett said.
"They could provide a fluid layer on top of DaaS and native VDI," Matchett said. "That would be a decent message."
However, Immidio doesn't include applications rights management or privilege elevation to give certain users admin rights to install apps – features that Liquidware and AppSense offer. So, IT shops would still need to buy third-party tools for user environment management.
"I have to be able to deal with user installed applications, and apply things to users," the VMware integrator said. "A Unidesk, Liquidware or AppSense would have been a great deal. And it seems like Immidio will require a lot of reassembly to plug into what VMware has."
While Immidio's IP will certainly help VMware, the company won't get much of a user base.
Immidio claims on its website to have over two million users worldwide, but Project Virtual Reality Check's 2014 'State of the VDI and SBC union' community survey of 1,300 IT pros asked how the user environment is managed in the Server Based Computing/VDI environment, and 19% said Citrix User Profile Management, compared to just 6% who use VMware View Persona. Most people – about 26%-- use Microsoft Group Policy, while RES Software was used by 15%, AppSense was used by 11%, Immidio Flex and Liquidware Labs Profile Unity both showed 2.4%.
Meanwhile, Liquidware Labs' FlexApp, which is similar to VMware App Volumes, will support Citrix XenApp soon, a company spokesperson said. This could give Citrix an advantage as VMware tries to poach its customers, according to one industry watcher.
VMware declined to comment.