Firm aims to leave no holes in IT managers’ BYOD policies by supporting both Mac and PC.
Office workers can move virtual desktops to both PCs and Macs with a new VMware product, Horizon Flex.
The secure, containerised environments aim to allow workers to bring whatever device they like to work on, while leaving IT managers safe in the knowledge that there are no gaps in their virtual desktop coverage, with Macs and PCs both supported.
The support for both Macs and PCs is in contrast to Citrix’s Desktop Player, which only supports Macs currently, with a PC client in tech preview.
With Flex, the devices can also go offline, the company boasted at its annual VMworld Europe conference in Barcelona.
That means users can disconnect from the data centre and still use their virtual desktop despite it no longer running from the server, thanks to its store of local data and temporary applications.
End user computing CTO Kit Colbert said: "It enables all the great security and centralized management aspects of VDI or DaaS for offline use cases, where the user may be travelling or in places without internet connectivity. This is especially useful in BYO or contractor scenarios, where the user brings in a device of their own, expects IT services on that device, but doesn’t want IT taking full control of the device."
Flex is an integration of container, OS and app management technologies and relies on VMware’s VMware Workstation, VMware Fusion, and VMware Player hypervisors, also offering added security features that give IT management more control over user access, said Colbert.
He explained that workers can drag and drop a file between the guest (the virtual desktop) and the host (the server) but IT managers can also disable this functionality, according to their own configurable admin policy. But admins can also control features like USB redirection, disk encryption and device cameras, as well as WiFi and VPN.
VMware also used the Barcelona conference to launch a disaster recovery service for virtual desktops.
Horizon Air Desktop DR provides virtual desktop users with a cloud recovery service, which VMware claims cuts out the complexity and cost of physical desktop disaster recovery solutions. Flex also uses Horizon Mirage to support remote OS and app management, extending the functionality of the unified desktop management tool to virtual computers.
Colbert added: "Almost every IT manager and CIO I speak to today has asked us for the simplicity and security of an enterprise-type of Dropbox. This is the world we live in. As we thought about this we decided to create a bold new vision . This vision is to create this notion of a secure and virtual workspace.
"Leveraging a virtual desktop makes the separation of apps, data, and management very clean. IT manages and controls everything inside the virtual desktop, and the user controls everything outside the virtual desktop."
And EMEA CTO Joe Baguley told CBR that VMware wants to push its support for BYOD policies to all kinds of industries and verticals.
He said: "BYOD is for everyone. I’m talking to a supermarket company right now who are looking at developing an application that would be the same application for either a customer of an employee, it’s just when they log in it’s different.
"The employee can use it on his mobile phone to do stock checking the customer walking along can use it to buy stuff off the same shelves, so that’s BYOD."