VMware has struggled lately under the weight of falling share prices and the uncertainty of its future amid the sale of its parent company.

But VMware executives have more on their mind today than the price of stock or the sale of EMC to Dell.

Today VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger and Sanjay Poonen, EVP and GM of the End User Computing group, are unveiling the company's new platform play — VMware Workspace One — at a worldwide virtual event. 

The product promises to make it easy for IT to deliver secure digital workspaces to anyone, anywhere, at any time, via any device, apps included. But that may be just the half of it.

A New Direction

Gelsinger and Poonen are setting the stage for a transformative moment: they want people to stop thinking about computing devices physically and start looking at them operationally — as access points from which we can get work done and to which we don’t have to be attached at all.

“We’re talking about a cultural and organizational shift,” Maribel Lopez, principal and founder of Lopez Research told CMSWire.

Over one thousand have signed up for the event, according to VMware spokeswoman Gabrielle Ferree.

For knowledge workers whose companies buy into VMware Workspace One, here’s the deal. As long as you can access the cloud or your company's virtual private network, you're in business.

Everything you need to do your job will be there: apps, productivity tools, access to data and files.

The physical devices and operating systems involved become almost irrelevant, whether we’re talking about iOS, Android, Windows 10 or Chrome. And your experience and access to information will always be the same with enterprise grade security built in.

At least that’s the pitch from an end user perspective.

If you’re in IT, VMware Workspace ONE promises to aggregate all devices, applications and services while securely managing them through unified common access and identity.

A Well-Traveled Path

If all of this sounds familiar, it’s similar to what Citrix, Microsoft and a number of other vendors have been espousing as well, according to Lopez.

What’s notable about VMware’s play, she said, is that it’s “practically seamless. You’re buying a platform.”

In other words, it’s different than buying all of the pieces — device management, application delivery and identity management —and cobbling them together.

It’s also not easy to compare the three different vendors side-by-side, said Lopez.

Each vendor is chasing a moving target. Microsoft is putting big muscle behind its play with Azure Active Directory.

Citrix, which has held a leadership position for years, is expected to innovate at a rapid clip now that it has a new CEO.

VMware could introduce something that gives it a run for its money, or at least try, when Raghu Raghuram, EVP of the Software-Defined Data Center Division, makes his presentation on tomorrow.

Learning Opportunities

Flexible and Consumer-Like

“VMware Workspace ONE looks at people, apps and devices in an entirely different way,” Kevin Strohmeyer, senior director of product marketing, End-User Computing, VMware, told CMSWire. “We assume a flexible workstyle and consumer-like end user experience. “

The apps aren’t just mobile, just SaaS or just Cloud, he added. And when it comes to devices/access points, the future’s open, it has to be. “Who would have thought that Windows 10 would be the fastest growing mobile operating system 18 months ago?”

Vendors in this space have to be quick on their feet.

And VMware is investing heavily in that ability. EUC is the fastest growing part of VMware, though it isn’t the biggest piece of the pie, said Lopez. Still, EUC is critical to the health of the company. It’s important to note that VMware is supposed to remain a separate company once EMC merges with Dell.

VMWare points to the following features to exemplify where Workspace One stands out:

Consumer Grade Self-Service Access to Cloud, Mobile, Windows Applications — Simple onboarding of new applications and employees as well as one -touch mobile Single-Sign On access via VMware’s patent-pending Secure App Token Systems (SATS) that establishes trust between the user, device, enterprise and cloud. Once authenticated, employees can gain instant access to a personalized enterprise app store where they can subscribe to virtually any Mobile, Cloud or Windows application.

Flexible Choice of Device: Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) or Corporate Owned — This includes self-service, shrink-wrapped device provisioning through the new unified management platform that leverages Mobile operating system (iOS, Android and Windows 10) management interfaces to self-configure laptops, smartphones and tablets for immediate enterprise use. The idea being that if employees are put in control of their owndevices and able to choose the level of services and IT restrictions they are comfortable with, adoption and productivity will grow reducing the risk of data loss.

Secure Productivity Apps: Mail, Calendar, Content, and Chat — Employees want to use corporate mobile applications that work like consumer applications. VMware Workspace ONE includes email, calendar, contacts, content, and chat applications that are “Sesame Street Simple,” to use Poonen’s term and Fort Know secure where invisible security measures protect the organization from data leakage. Swipe and touch integrations are built into third party SaaS applications such as Atlassian Jira, GitHub, and Jenkins for developer operations teams to act and respond from anywhere.

Data Security and Endpoint Compliance with Conditional Access — VMware Workspace ONE combines identity and device management with industry-first ComplianceCheck Conditional Access to enforce access decisions across any application or device based on a range of conditions that include traditional identity policies such as strength of authentication, network scope and add device compliance policies including GPS location, application whitelist/blacklist and third party plug-ins from AirWatch Mobile Security Alliance partners. Meanwhile the AirWatch compliance engine can remediate compliance issues through a series of customizable, automated workflows for both scale and enhanced security.

Real-Time App Delivery and Automation — As the industry is seeing convergence between desktops, laptops and tablets, operating systems such as Windows 10 are also converging to use mobile-style, application management. VMware Workspace ONE delivers application lifecycle management by simplifying application packaging, delivery and ongoing management. Administrator’s can automate application delivery and deliver updates on the fly and users can gain access to Windows applications on all devices. Workspace ONE leverages VMware AirWatch mobile management and VMware Horizon, along with VMware App Volumes application delivery technology.

VMware has something new and interesting to offer the marketplace. But Microsoft has similar capabilities, especially when Citrix’s components are added into the mix. The companies are working together. There’s also Office 365 to consider and that is a formidable opponent. Citrix itself may still lead the market, is expected to make a more aggressive play.

When competition like this exists, customers win and it’s fun to watch.