Building an AppStore with Nukona: Is VMware Horizon Already Here?
While I was researching the Citrix Startup Accelerator program for various reasons, I decided to go through the entire list of companies in the Citrix Startup Accelerator portfolio to see what type of company and solution were getting accepted. Two companies quickly floated to the top of the pile for me, and the one I'm reviewing in this article is a company called Nukona
According to Nukona's website, they provide, "enterprise app distribution, policy management and governance – designed to scale." Wait, doesn't this sound like VMware Horizon?
What is VMware's Project Horizon?
To anyone that follows Vittorio Viarengo, VP of End User Computing at VMware, you have probably heard about VMware Project Horizon. VMware Horizon is assumed to provide:
This sound fantastic! The problem is, when Viarengo talks about Horizon, he's talking futures. There's nothing wrong with talking futures in small doses and ensuring your current and potential customer base understands corporate direction, but the old addage, "sell what's on the truck" should be king (and what helps field reps most).
"View 5 looks great and all, but man, Horizon is going to be great, make me 4 inches taller, and heal my bad knees. I'm just going to wait for now."
I can't wait for Project Horizon personally, and now, maybe some of the goodness is already here, thanks to Nukona.
Building the Nukona AppStore
First off, kudos to the Nukona team for making a very friendly UI that's easy to navigate.
Nukona is a solution for creating an AppStore for your mobile devices that are Android or iOS based.
The first step is to sign up for an account, which takes a few seconds. Once your account is verified you are now ready to build your app store.
The App Center dashboard is where admins setup, configure, and manage their Nukona environment. The first step is to add an app to the app store.
There are two types of ways to do this:
To those that have ready my, "Why Published Apps > Published Desktops for Tablet Users" or, "Thirty Days Working Exclusively with the Apple iPad" articles, you will know that I believe that native apps and webapps will be the two most important type of apps as End User Computing (EUC) continues to evolve (versus VDI solutions for tablets, for example).
Legacy apps have their place and their unique requirements, but net-new apps are likely to be one of the two types above, a most likely to be a WebApp.
In this example below, I want to publish (and manage) the distribution of the awesome VMware View Android client. In the Android world there are various ways to get the APKs (the Android app package) that will not be covered in this article. Nukona provides a sample iOS or Android app for your testing (smart move).
Once you upload the application (or plug in the URL of the WebApp), it's now time to set permissions.
The account I'm using for this article does not have access to the Enterprise version, but you can also generate screenshots for a phone or tablet device to then pretty up the Nukona AppStore even more.
You can also choose whether to publish the App in Beta or Production. Nice feature to track who's running pilots of next-gen solutions in your organization.
Finally, invite groups and individuals to your Nukona AppStore.
Using the Nukona AppStore
Once you get asked to the Nukona AppStore dance via email, you click on a link and it takes you to a webpage to install the Nukona app on your device.
It should be noted that Nukona makes it fairly easy to brand your appstore, a feature all of these products should have, and should make easy. An organization that can build an appstore and feel like it's their own is more likely to move forward with the project. Nukona also offers the ability to run the appstore on-prem or cloud-based.
I'm using my beloved Asus Transformer TF101 android tablet, which I prefer over the Apple iPad I also carry.
From the Transformer you have to allow the installation of, "unknown apps" to get Nukona to install initially.
Once Nukona is installed on the device the user will see apps they are entitled to use. In this case VMware View is available. Double-tap and the application is installed. Viola!
Flipping back to the Nukona AppStore management dashboard, my Asus Transformer TF101 now shops up as a device to manage.
A later review will include the Mobile Device Management (MDM) capabilities of Nukona.
Versions of Nukona
There are 3 versions of Nukona.
No limit on users or devices
Nukona is a quick, simple, and straight-forward enterprise AppStore solution that potentially brings one of the most compelling features of VMware Horizon to customers wanted to purchase, deploy, and build their solution today. I've done some work in building custom AppStores deployed on-prem and in Amazon and will debut a Nukona AppStore solution here later this quarter. Stay tuned!
Interested in having an AppStore built for your organization? Please contact us.