VMware Gets new Horizon for Apps

by Sean Kerner

VMware launches integrated approach for matching user identity and authentication with cloud apps.

Running enterprise applications on cloud infrastructure is one thing, getting those applications to integrate with enterprise identity and authentication systems is quite another.

In an effort to help bridge the gap between enterprise authentication services and cloud delivery, VMware this week announced its new Horizon App Manager service. The goal with Horizon App Manager is to enable enterprises with the ability to integrate their identity and authentication systems to entitle users to access cloud applications.

"From a vision perspective, Horizon is the ability to aggregate all of the different application and data resources as a cloud service," Noah Wasmer, Director, Product Management, Advanced Development at VMware told InternetNews.com.

Wasmer noted that the first deliverable for VMware (NYSE: VMW) in its Horizon vision is the App Manager service. App Manager is a hosted cloud service that helps enterprises bridge their enterprise identity systems with cloud apps.

Horizon App Manager includes an on-premise Enterprise Connector that runs on VMware ESX, connecting to an enterprise's authentication systems including ActiveDirectory. The Enterprise Connector then integrates with VMware's hosted portal, which exposes the services and applications that an enterprise wants to make available to its users. Access to the applications is controlled by way of the enterprise's own authentication systems.

Wasmer explained that the way the authentication system works, the actual username and password remains behind the enterprise firewall. Horizon has a secure token service leveraging the oAUTH and SAML standards to federate identity out to the cloud apps.

Security is top-of-mind for VMware, and Wasmer noted that Horizon App Manager has multiple mechanisms for encrypting and ensuring the authenticity and security of the identity token. VMware's authentication security comes by way of technology it gained as part of the acquisition of security vendor TriCipher in August 2010.

The Horizon App Manager hosted service is built on VMware's Spring technology, including its tcat Tomcat middleware server. VMware acquired Spring in 2009 for $362 million.

The initial rollout of Horizon App Manager is delivered via a browser-based interface. The system can also be integrated with enterprise VPN solutions, including Juniper Networks SSL VPN to provide secure access for remote users.

Moving forward, VMware will be improving Horizon App Manager on a regular basis.

"The general cadence is to have monthly releases in terms of new features," Wasmer said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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This article was originally published on Wednesday May 18th 2011
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