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Q&A: Interview with FSLogix CEO, Talking Application Delivery - Part Two

Today, I'm posting the conclusion to my interview with Kevin Goodman about his new project, FSLogix, which came out of stealth mode last year at BriForum.  You can read part one of this interview here.

Update:  At the end of 2013, Kevin posted his predictions for the New Year, which centered mainly on the re-emergence of DaaS and 2014 being a tipping point for adoption.  Since that time, DaaS announcements have continued to hit the wire, including the most recent partnership between Google and VMware, giving Chromebooks access to Windows apps.  I asked Kevin how FSLogix Apps can help enterprises take advantage of these market innovations faster, which we talk about later in the interview.

VMblog:  It sounds like this kind of tool could be all you need to manage a desktop, but won't you still need something like Altiris?

Goodman:  I expect traditional management tools will be in the enterprise for a while, but there is a great opportunity to change the way they're used and greatly simplify the process.  If you move to a solution like FSLogix Apps, certain user communities don't need incremental updating - just wait for enough changes in the base and re-image.  Imaging solutions are basic, nearly bulletproof, and have been around since PCs hit the enterprise.

We've been doing informal research with our customers since before we launched and were very surprised to see the impact that Mac, BYOD and web based apps are having for many users (like middle managers and higher) and the reduction in locally installed apps they're already seeing.  A full-blown infrastructure management solution is overkill for these users.  Another trend is having contractors and remote offices use VDI or Citrix for their business critical apps, leaving a fairly stable set of base images for the actual laptop.  So for both of these environments, the local image and the hosted image, single image management is actually a much better approach.

But the question from many of our customers is not just about the easy environments, but can FSLogix Apps scale up to the "thousands of apps" use case, and we believe this is where we'll really excel above existing solutions in the market.

Whether or not it's possible to eliminate the need for a full scale infrastructure management solution for your desktop environments is going to be a different answer for each customer, but in the meantime FSLogix Apps works seamlessly with the solutions you're already using, helps you reduce the complexity of those environments, giving you better ROI from products you've already invested in, and of course greater uptime for your users and business.

VMblog:  What's the biggest problem you are seeing for IT managers who manage desktop environments and end user applications?

Goodman:  I would say that overwhelmingly I hear IT managers complain about alternative desktops as an "80%" solution. Unlike server virtualization, which is useful even if it only virtualizes a fraction of your data center, virtual desktops require all features to be implemented before it is truly useful. For example, there is a benefit even if you only virtualize your file and web servers in your data center. And the same would be true with desktops - if it worked that way. Let's say you have 100 desktops and you are able to virtualize 80 of them most people would agree that is on the path to success. But the reality has been, that it is we have been able to virtualize 80% of each desktop - meaning that no one desktop is completely virtualized. This is what has been frustrating IT managers especially for applications. Until FSLogix Apps, most application virtualization solutions were 80% solutions at best.

VMblog:  What are your customers saying is the "next big thing" on their horizon?

Goodman:  VDI is coming of age in the enterprise, with a lot of 2nd generation implementations being worked on.  Customers are taking what they learned in their earlier implementations and expanding the scope and the size of the user pool and supported apps in a pretty big way.  Complete non-persistent VDI is the next milestone for production "nirvana."  Obviously cloud apps are huge, and critical information that people might not have dreamed of moving out of their enterprise several years ago has already gone to cloud apps.

BYOD is still being talked about but we're not seeing a huge amount in production.  What's probably more disruptive is the amount of Mac's, and how they're changing the requirements and approach to locally installed Windows apps.

DaaS is the most exciting thing to me.  Brian Madden has called 2014 the Year of DaaS, and last year VMware bought Desktone, and Amazon launched their Workspaces service.  That in itself is huge, because historically Amazon has been like the Henry Ford of technology, introducing streamlined services that quickly evolve and iterate with new functionality.  Also last week we saw the announcement with Google and VMware, around cloud based Chromebooks and Windows apps.

I like to think about the evolutionary path of VHS to streaming video, which by the way many people said would never displace video rental stores.  The evolution went like this, VHS for many years, then DVD, Blu-Ray, and almost overnight, streaming.  The new generation of Blu-Ray players had streaming clients built in, and within a very short period this completely changed the delivery model, with pretty dramatic consequences to the model that had been in place for almost 35 years, since the late 70's.  The old delivery model essentially disappeared, and that's what we expect to see with enterprise applications, VDI and DaaS.  It's pretty exciting to be in the industry during this transition, and we want to be releasing solutions that help customers get ready for this change and move into the new models.

The really exciting thing is not necessarily what this will do for IT, but what this will allow enterprises to accomplish.  It's easy to forget that IT should be in business to make the enterprise work, and to be agile and competitive in their markets.  A transformation in IT means a transformation in business, in the types of services and products that are offered, the costs of those services, the expansion into new markets, the reduction of waste and inefficiency - that's why it's exciting to be part of the transformational process of IT, it's quite literally something that will change the world.

VMblog:  What should IT be doing to get ready for this transition?

Goodman:  Well the simple answer is that they should be working with FSLogix. I say that tongue in cheek, but our core objective is in helping customers simplify their app distribution methodology and consolidating images, which lowers cost and human resource overhead across a broad variety of IT areas.  We want to stop the accumulation of systems and toolsets and start to streamline the model and approach.  I still talk to IT managers who are several years behind in technology advances - they're just very caught up in the day-to-day.  Even these last few years of changes can make all the difference in the world as to your strategic approach to your infrastructure.  It is possible to leap frog several generations of development and start to move into these new models now.

This is part of the basic prep for transitioning to DaaS and the cloud, implementing stellar non-persistent VDI projects, reducing Citrix silos, and creating an environment where enterprises can adopt new market innovations almost as quickly as consumers can.  Get your environment in the position to take advantage of innovations faster, it's worth it for your IT and business bottom line.

VMblog:  This has been a great overview.  How should people connect with FSLogix to learn more?

Goodman:  Great question.  We recently posted our first whitepaper http://fslogix.com/whitepaper-a-new-approach-to-per-user-application-management/view/form, which details the differences between our approach and the solutions already out in the market.

Our contact information is on the website http://fslogix.com including a trialware request form here http://fslogix.com/request-an-evaluation.  You can get the trialware installed and working in just a few minutes, and try some basics use cases like the one's we cover in these videos http://fslogix.com/demo-videos.  If you'd like to be on our beta list, add the word, "BETA" in the bottom field of the form.

Updates can also be found our on blog http://fslogix.com/blog, our Facebook page http://facebook.com/fslogix, or signup for our newsletter http://fslogix.com/newsletter.

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Kevin Goodman is a virtualization software industry veteran and former founder of RTO SoftwareRTO Software.  His teams have developed products for Citrix, Microsoft and VMware workspace environments, and done OEM projects with companies like Wyse and Symantec to round out their virtualization offerings.  FSLogix was founded by several fairly seasoned industry people, including Randy Cook, the inventor of SVS, an application virtualization solution acquired by Altiris, which later became the cornerstone of Symantec's Endpoint Virtualization Suite. Their most recent management addition is CMO Brad Rowland, an early adopter of server based computing, with marketing leadership roles at Wyse, AppStream and Symantec.
Published Thursday, February 27, 2014 6:31 AM by David Marshall
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