VMware’s Project Horizon: What It Is and How Will We Get It?

Manage the User Locally, but Extend Identity to the Cloud

Starting at last years VMWorld one of the hottest topics has been Project Horizon. What was initially billed as an Enterprise App store will be released in three phases.

Phase 1: Secure Identity and Manage SAAS Apps
– Federate AD to Cloud SAAS Apps
– Simplify End User Experience with SSO
– Provision Users to mainstream SAAS Apps

A complementary product to many of your Identity Access and Management suites, Horizon will use a virtual machine placed in your DMZ that is referred to as the Horizon Connector.

Connector acts as a broker between the enterprise and the SAAS services. Secure tokens are used for the communication into the Horizon Cloud. Connectors from the Cloud could begin with Google Apps, Salesforce, Success Factors, Workday, Zimbra, Mozy, and Box.Net. These are done with SAML (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Security_Assertion_Markup_Language) federation. SAML is an open standard that provides high security with no passwords, digitally signed tokens are passed for access. Access and reporting can be done from the Horizon Connector for auditing and license tracking.

Phase 2: Modernize your Windows Environment
– Virtualize your windows apps for isolation and portability
– Secure and Mange the desktop
– Orchestrate Windows App Delivery Options

This phase will bring applications into an app store, very similar to http://myonelogin.com/, with the addition of being able to add in ThinApp applications and Microsoft App-V packages. With a client to be released for desktops Horizon should be able to push icons for applications directly to the desktop after they are selected from the enterprise app store.

Phase 3: Control Your data and Collaboration
– Automatic Data Sync to trusted devices
– Encrypt data across different platforms
– Enable Simplified End User Collaboration

The last phase of this rollout will include being able to allow access to data and transfer/sync user data regardless of platform or applications, either within the enterprise or with SAAS products.

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