VMware has completed the acquisition of Immidio, a vendor of user environment management products based in Holland. Immidio’s core product, Flex Profiles, was recently rebranded as Flex+, and the company claims to have two million users worldwide.
There has long been talk of VMware expanding its UEM piece by acquisition, as it previously tried to do by picking up RTO Virtual Profiles, which went on to become VMware View Persona Management. Unfortunately, the RTO product didn’t have enough going for it—besides enhancing logon times through streaming—to make a dent in enterprise requirements for a UEM solution. Now that VMware is in the RDSH arena, Persona Management won’t suffice. Hence, the abundance of rumours that VMware was considering making a move on one of the other players in the UEM space.
It’s true that anyone deploying desktop virtualization of any kind at scale will probably have a need for a UEM solution of some sort, so acquiring one of the established companies out there makes sense for VMware. This helps VMware to further complete the EUC jigsaw it is putting together to compete with Citrix. Both AppSense and RES probably have too much of a product portfolio to be a serious target for acquisition (although the acquisition of either would have certainly made for an interesting move). One of the smaller, UEM-focused vendors brings in the required features without overlapping too much into other areas of the VMware estate. Citrix has benefited from having UPM (User Profile Manager) for a long time, bundling it as part of its enterprise offerings. Citrix remains one of the better “lite” versions of UEM on the market, so VMware’s Immidio acquisition should add another piece of parity to the “Horizon vs. XenApp” comparison.
The simplicity of Flex+ should ensure that deployment of this solution (most likely as part of the Horizon Suite) will remain straightforward. What’s currently unknown is what VMware will do with Immidio’s enterprise app store solution, AppScriber. Flex+ should interface cleanly with AppVolumes, assisting with the management of the user environment, providing a great experience to the layered applications. But if you are the type of enterprise that needs more from your UEM solution—think user rights management or workflow automation, for example—then you probably still need to implement a product from the likes of RES or AppSense to get all the features you require.
VMware has pitched the acqusition as “Workspace Environment Management” rather than classic “User Environment Management,” aiming to sync settings across physical, virtual, and cloud-based desktops en masse. Can Flex+ be adapted to deliver this flexibility? That will be the immediate question to be answered—together with whether it will involve merging the product with other parts of the VMware Horizon Suite.
It will be interesting to see how VMware deals with Immidio’s current customer base, particularly those using Citrix XenApp/XenDesktop. If the Flex+ solution becomes part of Horizon—which seems likely, given VMware’s history of integration—it’s an open question as to whether those existing Citrix customers will be allowed to continue using the solution as a standalone product. VMware may use this acquisition as leverage to encourage them to pony up for the entire Horizon suite. Alternatively, VMware may stick to honoring the existing product support lifecycles, then insist that continued support requires buy-in to the full Horizon licensing package. Let’s not forget that VMware dropped Citrix support when it took on Desktone, and there’s every chance it may do precisely the same thing with AppVolumes.
This news is probably disappointing for LiquidWare Labs, given the years of rampant speculation that LWL was a company built and run specifically to become a future VMware acquisition as VMware’s UEM solution. If the Immidio purchase goes through, this may force LWL to refocus its efforts to aim again at becoming the third of the “big” UEM companies, along with RES and AppSense. LWL has added more varied products to its portfolio with Stratusphere and FlexApp, so if VMware absorbs Immidio for its own UEM play, then LiquidWare Labs may have no choice but to bring more competition to the higher end of the UEM market.