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VMware Horizon Suite combines physical, virtual and mobile management

VMware sweeps View, Mirage, Horizon Application Manager and Octopus into the new Horizon Suite. But whither Horizon Mobile?

For years, VMware's end-user computing initiative focused on View, its desktop virtualization product. With the release of Horizon Suite, however, the company combined management of physical desktops, virtual desktops and mobile applications.

VMware Horizon Suite renames and updates some products you may already use, such as View and Mirage, and bundles them with Horizon Workspace, a brand-new overseer for Horizon Application Manager and Horizon Data. Horizon Mobile is expected to join the suite later in 2013.

This special report features news about the VMware Horizon Suite launch and analyzes the product's pros and cons for current and potential customers.

VMware Horizon Suite: View 5.2

VMware View is now Horizon View, and version 5.2 features a new HTML5 client with Blast (formerly AppBlast). Blast allows Horizon to deliver full desktops to users' browsers, but it still hasn't met its initial goal: single-application seamless Windows.

Horizon View 5.2 is more closely integrated with vSphere, and new capabilities include better use of disk space and 3-D graphics support.

On its own, View 5.2 will set you back $250 per year per concurrent user. The full Horizon Suite costs $300 per year per user -- pricing that encourages VMware shops to buy the whole package. Merging View into Horizon will take more money out of View users' pockets, according to some analysts, because VMware eliminated View's lower-cost Enterprise edition.

VMware Horizon Suite: Mirage 4.0

IT shops using third-party physical desktop management tools in concert with View could hit a VMware-or-else wall now that Mirage is in the Horizon picture.

Wanova Mirage, which VMware Inc. acquired in 2012, is now Horizon Mirage 4.0. Mirage was competitive with and complementary to View -- both as a low-cost virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) tool and a way for View infrastructures to support physical desktops and users' apps. But Mirage was never optimized for integration with View VDI deployments, a problem that persists in the new Horizon bundle.

VMware Horizon Suite: Workspace 1.0

The brand-new Horizon Workspace groups together Horizon Data (aka Project Octopus), a mobile file-syncing application, and Horizon Application Manager, which lets IT control user access to SaaS applications.

Horizon Workspace does not integrate with Mirage, which has its own management console for physical desktops. In addition, Workspace only has eyes for View desktops, eschewing Citrix XenApp integration for now. And outside of the native View client, Workspace serves up a lesser user experience, relying on HTML5 delivery.

Horizon Workspace mobile management apps will be available for iPhone, iPad and Android, offering access to files, applications and Windows desktops in tab format. Limitations abound, however: Desktops are not available in the iPhone app, native mobile apps are not supported and Horizon Data does not integrate with third-party file-storage providers.

VMware Horizon Mobile, which will offer mobile virtualization on Android and application wrapping on iOS, didn't make it out with the rest of Horizon Suite.

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