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Lenovo Brings Its Unified Workspace to the Cloud

When you think of Lenovo, ThinkPads, Yogas and servers may come to mind -- but not digital workspace technology. The company is hoping to change that view over the next few years as Lenovo aims to extend its software and cloud solutions portfolio.

Lenovo last week announced its new Unified Workspace Cloud, a managed service based on its on-premises Unified Workspace technology. Similar to the on-premises Workspace Cloud, a platform that it has offered since its acquisition of Stoneware four years ago, Unified Workspace Cloud is HTML5 based and uses RDP to access applications in a consistent manor on any PC or mobile device. Sal Patalano, Lenovo Software's chief revenue officer, in an interview said that unlike the digital workspace offerings Citrix and VMware have recently rolled out, that its Unified Workspace offering doesn't require an agent or plugins. "The big thing is being able to do it via browser. We don't deal with any desktop agents," Patalano said, adding it also doesn't require VPN connections. "The ability to negotiate and get into my corporate environment without having to deal with a VPN logon is huge."

The on-premises Unified Workspace front-ends a secure proxy and users can log in to it via their Active Directory credentials to access applications in a datacenter --internally hosted, Web application and SaaS apps. With the current on-premises version, the customer runs two servers -- one to interact with Active Directory and connect into any of those internal private applications they need to access, said Dan Ver Wolf, a Lenovo senior sales engineer. The second server is deployed in the DMZ functioning as a relay. "Users that are remote, using personal devices, whatever it might be, access everything through that external relay, so they get secure access, remain physically separated from the datacenter, but still get access to internal resources," Ver Wolf said.

With the new hosted offering, it uses a similar approach, though it's a managed service hosted via Amazon Web Services and administered by Lenovo's professional services team. "When a customer wants a new application added to the service, they just call to have it deployed," he said.

In addition to no longer requiring the infrastructure associated with the current version, it's half the price. The MSRP for one user access to the on-premises offering is $50 and $100 per user per month for concurrent access, versus $25 and $50 respectively for the new cloud offering. Granted, no one pays MSRP, but pricing will vary based on the number of employees.

Lenovo also announced it has inked a partnership with Nimble Storage, a rapidly growing provider of flash storage systems. The two companies will look to deliver a "self-healing" converged solution with Nimble's InfoSight. Lenovo said the first product based on that solution, the ThinkAgile CX Series, is set for release at the end of the month.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 10/17/2016 at 11:44 AM


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