I’ve heard a lot of discussion in the last two weeks since VMworld 2012 San Francisco about Horizon Suite, View, Horizon Data, etc… how they’ll be combined or replace each other, which one is the broker, blah blah blah..and what I can’t help but scream to myself is, “You’re missing the point!”. What I believe VMware showed at VMworld with their Horizon Suite is the new “Workspace”. Citrix CloudGateway is this same new “Workspace”. So let me explain a bit.
The Windows desktop (literally the desktop screen) has been our workspace since the days of Windows 95 and it hasn’t changed much in the time since, even with Windows 8 on my laptop the desktop is still my primary screen. The reason that the Windows desktop hasn’t changed much is because it works well for the average user. It’s where we put shortcuts to recently used applications, saved documents we were working on, and put pictures of our family or dream automobile. What has changed is that we now have multiple devices and therefore workspaces. We have smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, web browsers, etc…and each of these for many people is made by a different vendor with potentially a different operating system for each. This is the fundamental change that has happened in the industry, we’re no longer Windows desktop only users. Each of these new devices has a desktop/workspace that you use to launch applications, documents, pictures…you get the point, they all have a “desktop”. The post-PC era isn’t one without Windows, it’s an era of Windows, iOS, Android, OSX all at the same time and interchangeably depending on the user.
A Workspace is like your desk. It’s a place to stack up documents, books, to-do lists, bills, etc. It’s the base to which you return to do your job. If VMware and Citrix can replace the Windows desktop with a new desktop or “Workspace” as I’m referring to it, then they can become the base that users require to do their job. Citrix and VMware aren’t stopping here, they realize that the other fundamental change that has happened is people are increasingly using their own devices and so a new category of IT applications has emerged, those meant to manage application and data security on non-company owned devices. The big challenge in my mind isn’t the application and data management, this will come in time. It’s changing people’s behavior, changing them from using the native Workspace on each their devices to using a new Workspace provided by Citrix/VMware.