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VMWorld 2020 Digital Workspace Announcements

VMWorld 2020 Digital Workspace Announcements


Just a week after Ignite, VMworld had the challenge of delivering something to be excited about. VMware’s marketing team wrote a nice article today about it here, but I think I want to scope it down to some specific items that I think are a huge deal for us. The question that I have to ask is how are they positioning Workspace ONE for a crucial time. Let’s get right into it.

Workspace ONE Tunnel Joins the Zero Trust Club

I have a long-standing history with the AirWatch/VMware Workspace ONE Tunnel. I was one of the first to use it initially when no one could support its Linux-ness as a potential per-app VPN solution. My favorite announcement today was the Tunnel is becoming a true real-time security solution.

Confirmed from its great PM, Martin Kniffin, Tunnel is introducing two Zero Trust features:

  1. Continuous evaluation and verification with the WS1 Tunnel will be available to all UEM customers powered by the UAG

2. Tunnel powered with convergent infrastructure by VeloCloud will be extended new functionality beyond app tunneling with things like the Secure Web Gateway (which they introduced a new integration with ZScaler).

This is the sort of functionality that makes the Tunnel a real appliance now. This will eliminate many of the arguments for Pulse Secure/Cisco AnyConnect/etc. Well done, VMware this is going to be good if it’s rolled out solidly. I will be doing everything I can to get this in my hands so I can make sure it’s documented properly.

Workspace ONE Day Zero Experience Goes GA

Another nice thing that has finally come together is the Workspace ONE HR experience that has been an ongoing discussion for the last year. The idea is pretty simple. I still remember when someone in Product Management mentioned a “New HR solution is on its way” and I was happy to see what it developed into.

VMware is using their IBM Watson partnership via their Virtual Assistant, mobile flows, and more brought by the Intelligent Hub. It’s quite elegant and has an obvious focus on user experience. It’s very similar conceptually to how WorkDay handles new/prospective employees, but takes it up about 10 notches.

The brilliant thing about this new offering is how you leverage the existing “Step Up Enrollment” functionality they introduced over the last few years, which gives VMware a true competitive advantage over their competitors. Companies are spending a ton of money on HR portal and onboarding systems that are disparate. This solution brings it all together.

Orchestrator Symphonizes Workspace ONE

I have been waiting for this for awhile. If we wind back the clock a bit, we all remember where AirWatch started. We had to deal with these archaic user groups and tags which were basically the Palm Pilot of management. This was not great, but we can only go up from here! Smart Groups would replace them in more recent years, but were much more effective.

We have learned that smart groups are starting to outlive their usefulness. Things continued to become more complex with concepts like Identity and Access Governance, roles, personas, etc. coming into focus at the enterprise level. VMware did a nice job of realizing this and modernizing to a new concept.

The answer was Freestyle Orchestrator, which Brian and Rahul debuted in depth today, which you can view here. I’m not going to go super deep here, because I will be writing a more detailed article soon. At a high-level, Orchestrator is giving us a low code, workflow driven solution using automation.

The brilliance of this solution is that it is very visual, which we need in today’s IT workforce. Orchestrator focuses on using building blocks to create deployment orchestration. They focus on resources, conditions, commands, and actions to bring us something special.

Once you finish building your workflow, you can see what it looks like. It’s great how it shows you the steps, which you can control the order of operations. This creates real value and eliminates many of the frustrations of Windows 10 application management. We no longer need to worry about applications behaving stupidly or things running out of order.

VMware Workspace ONE Enhances Its MacOS and Linux Offerings

We often deal with the JAMF-elites saying how much better JAMF is than everything else. Additionally, Linux people feel like second-class citizens for good reason as Linux management has seen like a substantial afterthought. We don’t need to worry any longer, because they are finally addressing many of these concerns.

Linux’s toolbelt is being expanded quite a bit. They will support x86 and ARM along with enhancing the capabilities with things that matter like Puppet integration, management profiles, asset management, and much more. A surprising yet pleasant surprise was support for WS1 Assist and Intelligence driving a consistent experience regardless of device.

MacOS on Workspace ONE is a solid offering already, but luckily thanks to the session found here, you can learn about a few new offerings that they are introducing to make it stronger:

  1. MacOS will now support the Sensors that already quite popular on Windows 10 (I’ve written a few on Windows 10), which can be used by WS1 Intelligence to do some compelling and exciting things.

2. Desktop Scripts are finally coming, which are also an exciting advancement. You will now be able to deploy desktop scripts just like MDM profiles. We can THANKFULLY get away from the nonsense that VMware was having people do with Custom profiles to work with something more dynamic.

Additionally, VMware is introducing some new badges and certifications around MacOS for help administrators get credit for their hard work, which is always a great idea.

Digital Employee Experience Management

VMware and Microsoft seem aligned on their focus toward the employee experience. VMware is committing to growing their WS1 Intelligence solution into something immersive. They do not disappoint here. DEEM focuses on tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) and getting ahead of issues. If they were unable to, it helps with performing root cause analysis on these issues.

Things get even more interesting when you drill into things and helps you track incidents and get the insights you need to be effective. It looks like DEEM should work nicely with integrations like ServiceNow to track issues and provide an amazing user experience. I think it will probably have some growing pains, but I’m very optimistic about its potential.

In Closing

Honestly, I was worried with VMware’s announcements at Ignite like AVS that VMware might not have a solid slate of new offerings in the EUC space, which has happened on occasion. This year it looks like there is a major emphasis on growing their EUC portfolio, which would make sense given the whole pandemic situation.

We are relying on the digital workspace and virtualization technologies, which are at a pivotal (pun intended) turning point in our culture. VMware has some great potential with these announcements, but it will come down to them making it cost beneficial for their users. Licensing is a concern for me with the pricing for expensive Mobile Flows and other items are at the moment. My hope is they will bundle these products closely and incentivize their customers to elevate their digital journey.



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