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VMware Workspace One Intelligence automates IT decision-making

VMware and Citrix are head-to-head in their efforts to provide IT with data analytics and automatic troubleshooting. VMware steps into the ring with Workspace One Intelligence.

LAS VEGAS -- Analytics and automation are having their moment in the end-user computing spotlight.

Just three months after Citrix launched new services to automate endpoint administration tasks based on real-time data, VMware responded by unveiling Workspace One Intelligence. The feature aims to collect and analyze data from all devices, applications and users in a Workspace One deployment, and then act upon them in an automated fashion.

Automation will be an important part of IT management in the future, but most organizations aren't ready for it, said Andrew Garver, research director at Gartner.

"A lot of organizations are just getting their hands around the concept of modern management," he said. "Automation is going to play a critical role, but it's an impact that has yet to be made."

Here at VMworld, VMware also announced new Windows 10 deployment capabilities.

Inside Workspace One Intelligence

Citrix's analytics service relies on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to spot anomalies in user and network activity and proactively identify potential security threats. And with Citrix Workspace, IT administrators can set application access policies based on a user's device, location and other contextual factors.

VMware's new offering focuses more on automating responses to security breaches and application performance problems. If an organization falls victim to a ransomware attack, for example, Workspace One Intelligence can automatically identify, quarantine and patch unprotected devices. Or, if an update to an app causes user-experience problems, the software can notify developers about the cause of the issue and roll back to the last stable release of the app.

VMware Workspace One Intelligence incorporates technology from Apteligent, a mobile app analytics vendor VMware acquired in May. It will be available as an add-on to Workspace One in the fourth quarter of this year.

The intelligence capabilities also serve to unify the components of Workspace One: desktop and application virtualization, enterprise mobility management, desktop management, file sharing and identity management. Workspace suites have faced criticism for not integrating these technologies more tightly. By synthesizing data from all those products, Workspace One takes a valuable step in that direction for IT professionals.

"The disparate pieces that make up Workspace One are getting fully integrated and using more user-centric deployment models than they have in the past," said Michael Disabato, research vice president at Gartner.

Truly unified workspaces will make it easier to authenticate users and manage applications across multiple platforms, said Patrick McGraw, virtual infrastructure engineer at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, N.C.

"I've been asking about that for years," he said.

New Windows 10 management features

In another nod to more unified endpoint management, VMware Workspace One can now provision Windows 10 desktops just like mobile devices. When a user logs onto a new PC for the first time, it automatically enrolls in AirWatch's unified endpoint management. Workspace One then launches and deploys everything the user needs, from applications to drivers.

"That's the workflow of the future for operations teams," Garver said. "The types of efficiencies you gain from mobile are going to be the default."

Through a new partnership with Adaptiva, VMware Workspace One can deploy desktop operating systems, updates and other resources using peer-to-peer networking. This technology aims to reduce the heavy bandwidth consumption that takes place when users all download content from a central location, said Jim Souders, CEO at Adaptiva, based in Bellevue, Wash.

"Windows 10 has been a great catalyst [for peer-to-peer distribution] because it's a big image that keeps getting bigger, and it also introduces the notion of cumulative updates," Souders said.

Next Steps

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