AppBlast, after the introduction

At this years VMworld in Las Vegas, VMware introduced project AppBlast. AppBlast enables you to use remote applications of any type and platform and deliver them to any HTML5 browser or device. It doesn’t matter if you’re using Mac, Windows, Linux, ChromeOS. You don’t need to install any client, it’s all pure HTML5.

AppBlast will provide the universal delivery of any application, including Windows-based applications, to any off-the-shelf browser or device supporting HTML 5, enabling instant remote access to non-HTML based applications. It enables you to utilize multiple types of applications from your  client devices in a transparent and cross-platform manner, which is vital to the post-PC era we are entering.

At VMworld in Las Vegas, VMware’s chief technology officer for End-User Computing, Scott Davis showed a demo on his MacBook, running AppBlast in Google Chrome. In my opinion, ground breaking technology which will change the end user computing landscape! How? Read on…. If you want to run a Windows applications on an iPad or Mac today, you always need to install some client software and use a technology like server based computing or VDI to deliver the applications to your client device. But with AppBlast, there is no need for a client. As I often say to colleagues and customers, the operating system is a necessary evil in delivering your applications. It is the transport layer for your applications and it is the limiting factor in application/operating system compatibility.

Now, with technologies like AppBlast, we can get rid of this limiting factor and deliver applications on every end user device as long as it supports rendering HTML5. It not only enables you to deliver applications to every device,  it also eliminates the cost of application migration projects.

Desktop Virtualization already significantly lowered most of the migration hurdles by breaking the relationship between hardware, operating system, applications and user settings. But, although you could swap Windows XP for Windows 7, you were still bound to the (Windows) operating system. OK, you can install client software on your Linux, Mac or iPad, delivering Windows applications to any platform, but you are still bound to the available client software. With AppBlast this is a thing of the past. So, it gives you the flexibility to deliver applications to any end user device with HTML5 support, it eliminates operating system/application compatibility limitations and it reduces the costs of migrating and maintaining a IT infrastructure.

It’s all great, game changing, ground breaking but I have a few questions.

  1. How will Microsoft react? Personally, I like it when we can deliver Windows based applications to a robust Apple operating system or the other way around, stable Apple applications to the Microsoft operating system. I can definitively see the advantages. However, Microsoft probably won’t like it when we’re able to deliver Microsoft applications to all end user devices, MacBook, iPad, Android, without the use of the Microsoft operating system. This will probably have an effect of the application or operating system price and/or the license conditions. Will this be the first big leap into a world without the need for an OS?
  2. The geek in me wonders how this works? What do we need as a back-end? What are the prerequisites? We need to install the application somewhere to deliver it by using HTML5. Is this done on a View back-end where every desktop delivers one session of the application or do we need multi session aware applications again?
  3. VMware is changing from a virtualization company to an IT solution company. Will they keep focusing on virtualization? With AppBlast, Octopus, Zimbra, etc VMware is entering into markets and technologies outside its fundamental expertise. By doing this, VMware is not only playing in new areas, it’s also entering areas who’s agendas it can’t set. VMware risks distracting itself from its core markets. The enterprise data center is VMware’s to lose.