What We Learned About VMware AppBlast at VMworld 2012
A year ago, at VMworld 2011, VMware unveiled a new technology under the title Project AppBlast. AppBlast promised to enable remote access to Windows applications and desktops utilizing only pure Web technologies, from within any HTML5-compatible web browser. Project AppBlast generated a lot of excitement at VMworld, with many attendees referring to it as the “star of the show” and “the hottest thing at VMworld.” We, at Ericom, were also very interested by AppBlast since we had released our own HTML5 remote access solution – Ericom AccessNow – several months before. At that time, AccessNow already delivered the benefits promised by AppBlast, and we were curious to see how the two stack up. However, during the year that followed, VMware did not release AppBlast nor did they provide any information or conduct any public demonstrations of it. In fact, they seemed to have gone into “stealth mode” regarding this project. Therefore, we were unable to discover any information about it whatsoever.
When VMworld 2012 arrived, we were curious to discover what’s up with AppBlast. Here is a summary of what we’ve learned:
- AppBlast will not be an independent product, but rather be part of a new VMware product called Horizon Suite – a collection of features and services intended to enable “workforce mobility.” It appears that in order to obtain the HTML5 remote access functionality, organizations will be required to purchase the entire Horizon Suite.
- While Horizon Suite was shown during the VMworld keynote, AppBlast itself was only mentioned in passing, and was not demoed on stage – a long way down for last year’s “star of the show”. This caused industry analyst Brian Madden to quip: “Keynote over. The important new things: … App Blast is not dead“
- AppBlast in Horizon will provide access only to virtual desktops managed by VMware View. AppBlast will not provide access to applications, an aspect which was emphasized at last year’s VMworld. Also, AppBlast will not provide access to remote physical desktops – another aspect which was highlighted last year.
- Horizon will be wholly dependent on Citrix XenApp and Citrix Receiver for access to remote Windows applications. (Yes, this means VMware Horizon customers may be required to purchase Citrix licenses in order to properly use it.),
- Horizon Suite and AppBlast are not available yet. To paraphrase on VMworld’s slogan: “Right here, not now”. VMware stated that they hope to release a beta version of Horizon during Q4. They did not provide guidance regarding when the first production version will be available, and what its pricing will be.
How Does VMware AppBlast Compare to Ericom AccessNow?
It doesn’t, because Ericom AccessNow is available right now, and has been a generally available for over 18 months. We’ve already released the second major version of AccessNow, and it has been deployed in production at numerous sites worldwide, to tens of thousands of users. AccessNow supports VMware View, and also Citrix XenApp/XenDesktop (BETA),, Quest vWorkspace and our own PowerTerm WebConnect connection broker for VDI and RDS. And it provides remote access to both applications and desktops, virtual and physical.
Several months ago, industry analyst Gabe Knuth wrote an article titled “How long can Ericom’s HTML 5 client dominance last?” Based on what we've learned at VMworld, Ericom’s HTML5 remote access dominance will continue to last, at least for the foreseeable future.
To learn more about Ericom AccesNow, click here.