Evaluate Weigh the pros and cons of technologies, products and projects you are considering.

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

Project AppBlast got lost in the Horizon Suite shuffle at VMworld 2012. IT pros were left wanting more information about how and where the technology will be used.

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 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.

Dig Deeper on Advanced VMware tools

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.