To Kit Colbert, CTO of End-User Computing at VMware, it all starts with the user. Applications are changing. Data is in a constant state of flux. New devices are coming out all the time. And there are stark disparities between desktop and mobile management delivery. But users see it as one unified landscape.
To users, a device is a device, said Colbert, speaking at Rock Stars of Mobile Cloud. And users expect that they’ll have the ability to shift between devices seamlessly without compromise—whether they are working on a desktop, laptop, tablet, phone, or automobile.
But user experience is anything but seamless today. “It can be quite frustrating for users,” Colbert said.
And it’s not any better for admins. For network administrators, it’s a big challenge to simplify and unify management across all devices due to siloing, different levels of capabilities, and security requirements. There’s widespread agreement of the vision of seamless access to devices—but achieving it requires the pulling together of a number of pieces.
“We have these two disparate realms,” he said.
Colbert said a logical place to start is with helping end users by creating one place to go to access all apps—in VMware’s parlance, “a unified software-defined workspace.” The workspace provides one-click access and covers all kinds of apps a user might want to run, including Windows, remote, local, mobile, and SaaS apps. “It makes it very easy for the end user.”
The second piece of the puzzle is meeting users’ need to use the workspace on any device. “You can get access to any of the apps an enterprise provides over any device,” he said.
That may solve end-user problems, but admins need help too. Help for admins starts with bridging the management divide by adopting a mobility management paradigm for the desktop with a simple user interface and a wide breadth of device support, Colbert said. Using layering to ease application installation can also help.
Colbert said that Sun’s vision that “a device is more powerful and useful if it’s connected” remains very much relevant today. “However, Sun underestimated the power and diversity of devices.”
Colbert said mobile and cloud together can deliver powerful results. “The mobile-cloud era is really a 1+1=3 sort of combination, where the whole of mobile and cloud together is greater than the sum of the parts,” he said.
Colbert said he likes to think of it as “The Cloud is the Device” because “it’s not just about mobile devices, but about all devices a user uses.” Using an “end-user computing” (EUC) approach gives end users one place to go to access all their apps and data; lets them use any app on any device, either running locally or remotely; and take advantage of self-service provisioning of new devices and applications.
With an EUC approach, admins can have one experience for all devices, with radically simplified desktop management; and canonical device configuration information stored centrally in the cloud. “We think this new model for EUC management will transform the industry and we’re excited that we’ll be bringing this vision to life,” Colbert said.