VMware Digital Workspace Announcements

The folks at VMware have clearly been busy judging by their recent EUC product announcements.  There is an absolute plethora of content to get excited about which I will outline below.

Due to the sheer volume of news more detailed posts will follow around the specific areas as further information becomes available and the general availability date nears.  Currently scheduled to be available in Q1 2016.

“The world is going digital and IT need to drive the digital transformation”

VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger began the session and he spoke of having “one integrated architecture” delivering “any app to any device with intrinsic security”.


The session went on to announce how this could be achieved with the new digital workspace product suite, of which I have broken down into more digestible chunks below:

Workspace ONE (Airwatch | Identity Managere | Horizon)

Self Service Access with true SSO
Just in time delivery
App volumes 3.0
User experience
Smart policies
Horizon air
Further features

Workspace ONE

Traditionally desktop, mobile, apps and identity management are managed by IT in independent silos and frequently individual solutions.  VMware is bringing these together with Workspace One.

Self Service Access and SSO

We can provide the same “app store” like user experience from a unified catalogue via the workspace One application.  

Once a user is authenticated into identity management then they are validated for all apps.  This is a true SSO and is more secure than existing password/token methods.

The result is a seamless experience (using VMware secure app token system) that extensively streamlines the process for users.  There was a great demo in the announcement showcasing a single touch authentication on iPad to Workspace One and that was it as far as the user was concerned.  All other cloud apps were accessible and ready to go.  Very impressive, very slick.


With workspace one (via Airwatch) you can manage both corporate and BYO devices in the same way to provide exactly the same user experience.  Windows 10 devices can also be enrolled and administrated in the same way helping to remove the silos that were mentioned earlier in the post and bring everything together under one roof.


The recent VMware acquisition of Boxer means that a well-polished mail app along with calendar, secure messaging (via socialcast) and content are available in one place. 

Content Locker adds a multitude of content delivery under the same identity (Office365, windows fileshares, dropbox etc.)


Conditional Access provides scenario based admittance at the application level.  Document security with windows 10 means administrators can specify encrypted company documents can only be used in pre-approved managed apps.  There was a nice demo of this to in the video announcement.

Horizon 7

The next incarnation of Horizon adds an awesome slew of new functionality and features.  There will also be a seamless upgrade path from version 6!  Major takeaways are below:

Just in Time Delivery

Previously referred to as Project Fargo, an instant clone virtual machine is provided using vmFork technology.  A running Parent VM is cloned on demand, domain joined if required and the OS is customised and is ready for use in time for user login.  Clones share the disk and memory of the parent VM for reads which leads to greater storage and memory efficiency.

This technology removes the need for composer operations so gone are the need for all those lengthy overnight recomposes!

The admin overhead will obviously also be greatly reduced around machine management.

App Volumes 3.0

This was actually announced about a week earlier and fills some holes in the current 2.10 release.  It will provide the user customisation and application provision to sit on top of our JIT virtual desktop.

The emphasis here has shifted to managing apps not layers.  With the introduction of AppToggle we can control user access to applications within an appstack.  This will mean IT administrators can drastically simplify by reducing the number of appstacks that they provision.  Resulting in faster logon times (less appstacks to attach), greater performance and reduced storage requirements.  For me this is a really big plus and certainly required beyond small deployments.

Appcapture assists with the provision of applications by streamlining packaging and delivery.  Isolation is no longer the default but only used if a conflict is detected on application provisioning (integration with thinapp).  We can also “inject” and update an application into an existing stack using a command line tool.

UEM (User Environment Manger) is used to provide app customisation and profile management and now becomes incorporated too with this release.  I am a big fan of UEM having used it frequently in client deployments and it will be very interesting to see how the management console will change to reflect this but it will potentially provide a big saving in management overhead and give the product further exposure.

AppScaling with Multizones provides integrated application availability (automated replication of appstacks across sites).  Previously we had to replicate datastores outside of the environment.  In addition this will remove the need to have a shared datastore between vCenter instances.

View the original announcement blog

There is total parity feature wise with PCoIP.  Blast Extreme delivers 4k resolution, GRID support and up to 2x superior battery power consumption on mobile devices.  It users UDP by default which can survive up to a 20% packet loss and falls back to TCP if required.  This should provide good user experience on even the cheapest devices over poor connections.  So it seems you can put lipstick on a pig!

Smart Policies

Scenario based access control.  Fairly self-explanatory but a feature I think we would expect to have.  Lock down public access as opposed to connected.

Horizon Air


I will certainly be taking advantage of this jumpstart pricing model to take a closer look, watch out for that blog post in the future!

Other Bits in Horizon 7

There has already been a huge amount discussed but I have listed a few other items worthy of note due to be available in the Horizon 7 release.

Scale Improvements10 PODs | 4 sites | 50000 desktops (2.5x Horizon 6.2.1)
Flexible EntitlementsSite assignment for nested security groups
Failover SupportAutomatic redirection to available desktop at alternative site
IM Intergration Identity Manager Intergration
GraphicsAMD graphics support in addition to GRID
Flash RedirectionTech preview (this feature has been available in Xendesktop for a while)
PrintingLocal and network printing up to 4x faster
Windows 10Identity Scan and serial port rediretion now supported in Windows 10
URL RedirectionOpens listed URLs on endpoint not desktop (available in Xendesktop)
New Horizon ClientHorizon Client 4 due across all platforms. Including scaled resolutions for high DPI clients.Support for Server 2012r2

As colleagues will attest to, I am particularly looking forward to the high DPI scaling client having struggled at times with a 4k laptop screen over the last few months!

All in all a tremendous amount to process, watch out for some follow up articles providing more detail and maybe some deep dives in and around some of this incredible technology.

The VMware announcement video and further digitalworkspace information can be viewed here