VMware’s tech preview aimed at managing legacy apps in Windows 10

SAN FRANCISCO — Firms making the migration to Windows 10 and wanting to manage their legacy Windows applications as they do modern and mobile applications now have an option on the way, VMware Inc. announced Tuesday at its VMworld user conference.

Still in technology preview, Project A2 is meant to address some paint points with managing Windows 10. It will allow enterprises to use AirWatch’s enterprise mobile management tool to manage all of their Windows 10 software, not just the apps that are delivered via the Windows Store.

Project A2 is born out of VMware App Volumes (known as CloudVolumes prior to acquisition). It also takes advantage of Microsoft’s move with Windows 10 so that its file structure is no longer tied to ActiveDirectory. Moving to its unified OS model across all devices, Microsoft allowed vendors like VMware to manage its modern apps with mobile device management solutions like AirWatch. But that still left IT admins the problem of managing legacy Windows applications in a different way, explains Dave Grant, VMware.

“So this tool is a way to package up legacy applications and make the available to AirWatch,” he says. “You’re essentially making a container for an application that can be managed by AirWatch.”

That means IT admins can move the applications just as they do others managed with AirWatch, deploying them to desktops or mobile devices running Windows 10. For end-users, they get access to the same set of applications no matter what device they’re logging into.

Microsoft hasn’t announced any other collaborations with MDM vendors that are similar to this one. The move may come as a surprise to many as Microsoft and VMware have long competed in the virtualization space, Microsoft offering its own hypervisor to the market.

To show the fence has been mended, at least in some places, Jim Alkove, corporate vice-president of Windows enterprise and security at Microsoft took the keynote stage at VMworld on Tuesday, alongside Sanjoy Poonen, leader of VMwar’es end-user computing division.

“The simplification of enterprise mobility management we’re delivering with Windows,” he said. “It’s our goal to make Windows the most easily managed device on the market.”

With Project A2 being a tech preview, there’s no pricing details from VMware yet. It is planned for general availability in the first half of 2016.

VMworld 2015 continues on Wednesday.

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Brian Jackson
Brian Jacksonhttp://www.itbusiness.ca/
Former editorial director of IT World Canada. Current research director at Info-Tech

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