If you look at the concept of how “things” are assigned to devices in Workspace One, you get the impression that not much has changed about this concept in recent years. The concept of smart groups or assignment groups has existed for many years and has proven itself as a “universal filter”. We leave out the forerunner “user groups” here. The disadvantage of smart groups, however, is that this construct has limits. Filters can only be supplemented with “own” attributes with difficulty (keyword: tags), a combination of assignments is only possible to a limited extent (keyword: products) and dependencies can only be achieved through compliance policies. In times of the highest demands on automation, the priorities of IT departments have shifted here. Another limitation of classic smart group deployments is performance and scalability. Here, too, Freestyle comes in and, thanks to the new resource distribution architecture, allows a significantly higher performance of mass deployments of apps, profiles and certificates. The gain in performance is of course also dependent on the hardware used, details will be announced in the coming months.
However, the demand for dynamic, flexible and interdependent assignments has increased significantly – especially if you take into account the focus on the client systems macOS and Windows 10. Therefore, it was time to implement a new construct that did not replace any of the elements mentioned above, but which allowed a logical, visually appealing, intuitive link. In a nutshell, this is the concept of the Freestyle Orchestrator.
Without exaggeration, one can claim that Freestyle has been the greatest innovation in the Workspace ONE UEM landscape for years and will permanently change the way in which admins and engineers assign apps, profiles, certificates, etc. Let’s get to some facts:
- Freestyle will first be available for Windows 10 and macOS
- Other operating systems, Android and iOS, are to follow in 2021
- The Technical Preview is currently running on some VMware hosted selected beta platforms as part of Workspace ONE UEM 20.10
- SaaS customers will be able to use Freestyle before on-prem customers. For on-prem customers, the launch is planned for the first half of 2021
- Freestyle may require additional components for on-prem customers – details will follow in 2021
- Freestyle will also be usable without cloud services, but the full scope of use will only result with advanced solutions such as Workspace ONE Intelligence, which allows the data collected to be injected to map links and dependencies
Workspace ONE Freestyle sees itself as an orchestration layer between the Workspace ONE elements. Practically a logical layer that allows links and additions for workflows of all kinds in order to allow the distribution of payloads, apps and other configuration units of Workspace ONE:
Freestyle is based on a “Canvas UI” in which the workflows can be assembled using the modular principle. A start block (e.g. Smart Group) is used to link resources (apps, profiles, scripts, files) with conditions (e.g. app or file exists on device, registry setting, patch level, platform, sensor values) and then linked with commands (e.g. device restart, setting values, logging out of a user) and / or actions (e.g. installing an app, forcing an update or profile, removing components). What seems complex at first glance, quickly becomes intuitive when you look at the “Canvas UI”:
Workflows can also be set up as an “IF-THEN-ELSE” process:
In the coming months we will learn a lot of details about the Freestyle Orchestrator internally at VMware, but also from the customer side. At the moment it is a “public preview”, which means, on the one hand, that not everything is running or cannot run smoothly because development has not yet been completed. On the other hand, there will be extensions, e.g. in the user interface, to add new elements or views. Freestyle should, however, provide all admins with a new tool that is future-oriented and will ultimately change the deployment of resources of any kind – the method is now based on logical values that the admin can define himself, in order to allow the user at least a better “user experience”, but certainly reducing the susceptibility to errors and increasing the overall security of devices in combination with Workspace ONE Intelligence through causal links.
- KB Artikel: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Freestyle Orchestrator (81163)
- Docs.VMware: Freestyle Orchestrator
- Mobile-Jon: Orchestrator Commands a Harmonious Synergy for VMware Workspace ONE
- VMWorld Sessions: DWMM2032 – An Introduction to Freestyle Orchestrator
As usual, your VMware contact also has more information about the Freestyle Orchestrator. If you are interested in a demo or access to the public preview, please ask the respective TAM / CSM / SE / SAM or your account manager.