3 Blind Men (VDI, EMM, CMT) are looking at the same Elephant!

Author: Amitabh Sinha

Publish on: Feb 3, 2015 7:27:00 AM


There's an old story about the three blind men and an elephant.  It roughly involves three blind men who feel a different part of the animal, try to figure out what it is and guess it all wrong individually.

So what's the elephant in our story? "How do end users get secure access to all their apps and data from any device?"

Until the late 2000s, life was "simple" for IT.  End users used corporate-owned and managed PCs to access  Web and Windows-client server apps running on-premises. 

But by the late 2000s, the complexity of accesing enterprise apps has exploded into a five dimensional elephant of a problem: 

  1. Different classes of apps: Apps can be web based, hybrid, native, or windows client server.
  2. Different ownership models: Devices can be end user owned or corporate owned. Already 80+% of the devices are owned by end users. 
  3. Different operating systems: Users need access from iOS, Android, Windows OS, and MacOS.
  4. Different form factors: Users need to work on phones, tablets, and laptops.
  5. Different Deployment Models: Apps can be deployed to be on-premises or to a public cloud environment.
vdi emm and CMT

Five dimensional elephants are difficult to visualize, so let's simplify the problem to this 2-dimensional graphic. The x-axis is the devices end user will use. The y-axis is the types of applications and data that end users want to access. We also add device management as a function on the y-axis. Broadly speaking there are two different problems: (a) how do you manage the device (b) how do end user securely access apps and data? There is overlap between the two problems, but you don't need to lock down the device in order to provide secure access. We believe that the vast majority of access will happen from devices that IT cannot manage - home PCs, contractor/consultant laptops, phones, and tablets. 

accessing enterprise appsClient Management  Tools (CMT), Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), and Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) are looking at this elephant from three different angles:

  1. CMT helps IT  manage PCs
  2. VDI enables access to windows apps and desktop from any device
  3. EMM helps IT manage mobile devices

But they are all incomplete solutions. The latest Gartner forecast for VDI is 8% of all desktops. Since 80+% of the devices are personally owned, neither CMT nor EMM, can address more than 20% of the problem. In response, some CMT solutions (like Intune) have extended their capabilities to mobile devices. EMM vendors (like Air-watch) have extended their solution to helping deliver apps and data to any device. IBM is integrating the EMM and CMT capabilities into a single offering.


Citrix proposed the right vision for this problem in early 2014: mobile workspaces. An end user needs a workspace on any device from which they can securely access all their applications and data. VMware followed quickly with their own Workspace vision. I am calling the Citrix and VMware offerings a vision because the vision is fulfilled with a Workspace Suite offering, which is really a collection of many existing products at the company (XenApp, XenMobile, XenDesktop, Netscaler, ShareFile). The task of integrating these disparate products falls onto the customer.

Workspace - access apps securely

So if you layer the three solutions - VDI, EMM, and CMT - onto the workspace problem, here's what it looks like. As you can see each one of the solutions is attacking the problem from a different angle, but do not fully solve the problem.



At Workspot, we have built a solution from the ground up that helps IT create a workspace. Our Workspace as a Service solution is the simplest possible implementation of a workspace allowing a customer to deploy a workspace in 60 minutes or less.   

Want to know more about Workspot today? Click the image below to download the solution brief:
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