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Windows 10 lifecycle management comes to VMware Workspace One

More in-depth capabilities for managing the Windows 10 lifecycle are coming to the new unified endpoint management feature in VMware's workspace suite.

LAS VEGAS -- New unified endpoint management technology from VMware will allow IT to manage mobile devices and Windows 10 PCs together from the cloud.

VMware UEM will add Windows 10 lifecycle management features -- including patch management, software distribution, configuration, security and more -- to the cloud-based Workspace One platform, which can also manage mobile devices. These capabilities are enticing because endpoint management has become increasingly complex and costly, both financially and in terms of the amount of IT staff needed to manage both mobile and desktop workspaces, attendees here at VMworld 2016 said.

"Our members are interested in this," said Brad Tompkins, CEO of the VMware User Group (VMUG). "They are being asked to manage more and more with less. Nobody's budget is getting increased. All of these devices that we're going to have to manage, it's just going to continue to explode."

Whitefish Credit Union in Kalispell, Mont. will consider adopting VMware Workspace One now that it allows for Windows 10 lifecycle management, said Havre Hamilton, vice president of IT. The company currently manages corporate-owned mobile devices with VMware AirWatch, uses a separate PC management tool for its many Windows 7 physical desktops and plans to upgrade to Windows 10 next year.

"That's why we're looking at this, because we're looking to make that transition," Hamilton said. "Anything that lowers our management needs is great."

VMware Workspace One combines AirWatch's enterprise mobility management (EMM) software with Horizon Air for cloud desktop delivery and Identity Manager for authenticated user access. AirWatch already supports Windows 10 mobile device management, but until now Workspace One did not allow for full Windows 10 lifecycle management.

PC lifecycle management hasn't really evolved in the last 20 years.
Shawn BassCTO of EUC, VMware

"Everybody's always been looking for the utopia of the single pane of glass," said Mike Nelson, infrastructure architect at Appleton, Wisc.-based Secura Insurance, who supports a virtual and physical desktop deployment.

With UEM, authenticated users can access Workspace One resources on Windows 10 desktops, and IT can control who has access to what data and apps through conditional access policies. Especially interesting is the new TrustPoint security dashboard that's part of the AirWatch management console, Hamilton said. With TrustPoint, IT can ask questions about any endpoint on their system and get information back to detect and handle threats.

The goal of VMware UEM is to lower the total cost of ownership of Windows 10, because organizations won't have to purchase multiple endpoint management tools, said Sanjay Poonen, general manager of end-user computing, during a VMworld general session. Traditional PC management tools are designed to work on-premises and require domain-joined resources, so larger organizations have to hire desktop administrators at every office location.

"PC lifecycle management hasn't really evolved in the last 20 years," said Shawn Bass, CTO of end-user computing at VMware, in a VMworld session. "Cloud-based management makes much more sense."

Some organizations just don't need a full management suite like VMware Workspace One, however.

"When you're understaffed and overworked, just going to virtual desktops was hard enough," said Luke Gray, a systems engineer and leader of the Phoenix and Northern Arizona VMUG.

His company already uses AirWatch for EMM and isn't interested in moving to the bigger Workspace One platform.

"You have to stay current, but taking a leap to another management thing, when what we have works, is [not necessary]," Gray said.

EMM providers MobileIron, BlackBerry and IBM also support Windows 10 but don't offer the same type of cloud-based PC lifecycle management that VMware UEM will provide. Citrix, on the other hand, added unified endpoint management to XenMobile 10.3 in January, and it offers similar PC management capabilities through its Workspace One competitor, Citrix Cloud.

VMware will share more information about its UEM technology, including pricing and availability, at next month's AirWatch Connect conference. Customers will have to purchase the TrustPoint capability separately from AirWatch and Workspace One.

VMware's client virtualization tools, Fusion and Workstation, also got updates this week. Fusion 8.5, Fusion 8.5 Pro, Workstation 12.5 Player and Workstation 12.5 Pro now have support for Windows 10 Anniversary Edition and Windows Server 2016. All versions of Fusion also add support for macOS Sierra.

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