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VMware Workspace One Essentials knocks down suite pricing

A more affordable Workspace One bundle with less advanced management capabilities could appease IT pros who view workspace suites as too pricey.

IT pros have found workspace suites to be too expensive, but VMware looks to accommodate the critics with Workspace One Essentials.

The entry-level model of the company's Workspace One platform comes at a cheaper price, but offers fewer management and security capabilities. Workspace suites are designed for large enterprise IT shops, so they're too expensive for smaller companies that might want to adopt them, said Mehran Basiratmand, CTO of Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Fla.

"Any restructuring in the price is welcome news, given their past practice of thinking they are the only game in town," Basiratmand said. "This realignment of pricing ... is a move in a positive direction."

Workspace One Essentials, announced this week at VMworld Europe, allows users to access a catalog of noncritical business apps, such as a human resources timesheet app, from their personal devices. The platform does not offer device or app management, but does require authentication for app access.

Designed for organizations that prioritize easy access to apps over security, the Essentials edition costs $4 per user, per month -- half the cost of the standard edition. The standard version is still less expensive than workspace suite competitor Citrix Cloud, which IT pros found pricey when it hit the market in March 2015. Citrix has since lowered its pricing, but it still starts at $15 per user, per month.

The potential for cost savings with VMware is appealing, but the functionality and capabilities will still need to be apparent for Workspace One Essentials to be worth the investment, said Greg Peters, technology engineer for the state of South Dakota, a VMware Horizon customer.

"If it provides a workable solution, then the lower cost would be great," Peters said.

The full Workspace One suite includes VMware AirWatch, Horizon Air and Identity Manager, and it gives IT one console to manage users' devices, virtual desktops and apps. Workspace One Essentials does not offer more advanced management features, such as enforced encryption, device wiping and data loss prevention. For security, it does offer single sign-on (SSO) to mobile and web apps on unmanaged devices, plus conditional access policies that let IT restrict users' access to certain apps based on the device, network or location of a user. Multifactor authentication is also built in.

Businesses haven't really bought into workspace suites yet, but I think they should.
Zeus Kerravalafounder and principal analyst at ZK Research

Workspace One Essentials could suit businesses with apps that don't deal with sensitive corporate information. Another ideal scenario is schools, where IT departments need to provide students with easy access to their educational apps with few security requirements, said Zeus Kerravala, founder and principal analyst at ZK Research in Westminster, Mass.

"Businesses haven't really bought into workspace suites yet, but I think they should," Kerravala said. "We are working in a world that is increasingly dynamic and distributive. Workspaces enable that and give IT the control they need, while giving the users the apps they need."

Workspace One Essentials will be available this quarter.

Office 365 data loss prevention

In the standard edition of Workspace One, VMware has also added data loss prevention (DLP) capabilities to protect Office 365 data from third-party file sync-and-sharing apps. For example, if a user has an Office 365 app on his or her phone in addition to a personal Dropbox account, IT can prevent Office 365 from syncing data to the Dropbox account.

This feature is a big addition to Workspace One because more businesses are moving to Office 365, Kerravala said.

"VMware finally has a product that is ready for prime time," he said. "VMware hasn't taken security as seriously as they should have in the past, and DLP and SSO should have been core components all along. Now, businesses can leverage the cloud without the worry of data being stolen."

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