Something interesting and unprecedented happened in early September at VMworld 2015, when VMware announced they had entered into a joint project with Microsoft. Up until this point, the companies were strictly rivals in the enterprise market for virtualization technology.
Project A2 will establish a set of technologies and protocols allowing IT admins to shift endpoint management away from the machine and toward applications. In other words, combining cloud features found in Windows 10 with technology provided by VMware, IT admins will be able to create virtualized Windows 10 desktops controlled at the enterprise IT level. The desktop hardware at the endpoint will merely be the shell running the virtual environment.
When it comes to enterprise-wide management of IT resources, the idea of a centralized management system has been an elusive goal. However, with this partnership between Microsoft and VMware, in the form of Project A2, that goal may be more achievable than it's ever been.
Obliviously, there's nothing concrete to go on at the moment, so only time will tell how successful the project will be in the end—but having two of the most powerful players in this technology space teaming up to tackle the problem is a solid step in the right direction.
One of the potential side effects of Project A2 for Microsoft—and mind you, this is according to VMware—is that the partnership is likely to "encourage businesses to upgrade to Windows 10 by giving them an easier way to roll it out and move all their apps from Windows 7 machines to new Windows 10 machines."
This is a bold statement, especially coming from a company that was, until recently, a staunch rival and competitor. I'm sure Microsoft is hoping their new friends at VMware are correct in this assessment.
And while Windows 10 is now installed on 75 million devices, reaching a market penetration level of over 5% in just its first full month of release, there is still a long way to go before Microsoft reaches its stated goal of 1 billion Windows 10 devices. So, any boost in adoption rates, particularly in the enterprise market, will be welcome.
The Project A2 partnership between Microsoft and VMware is just another example of how Microsoft's market strategy, corporate culture, and business philosophy has changed under CEO Satya Nadella's leadership.
Instead of banging its proverbial head against the wall in an unstainable attempt to compete with, or potentially absorb, every other technology company in existence, Microsoft has discovered the benefits of working with powerful technology partners to create solutions customers need and want.
I'm not saying Microsoft and VMware are joined hand-in-hand to sing Kumbaya around the campfire, but they are at least cooperating in a civil and productive manner. Other recent announcements and events have shown that Microsoft is willing to partner with other technology companies in much the same way. For enterprise IT, this new found collaborative spirit could lead to some great things—for them and for Microsoft.
Virtualization is an important tool for enterprise IT management. How are you using virtualization in your organization? Do the concepts outlined in Project A2 sound appealing? Will you keep track of the project's progress? Let us know your thoughts in the discussion thread below.
Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.