VMware Tunnel client to replace AirWatch Tunnel client on iOS

AirWatch will be introducing a new Tunnel client application for iOS, VMware Tunnel 2.0.0, to replace the existing AirWatch Tunnel 1.3.3. This Tunnel client adopts an updated iOS 9 Per-App VPN framework (Network Extensions) to provide enhanced user experience and additional features for a broader use of this product.

What does this mean for existing customers using AirWatch Tunnel on iOS?

When the VMware Tunnel is released, both the AirWatch Tunnel and VMware Tunnel will be present in the App Store.  If you are currently leveraging Airwatch Tunnel, this will continue to function without any change.  The VMware Tunnel is a completely separate application.

AirWatch strongly recommends that customers work to migrate any existing AirWatch Tunnel deployments to instead leverage VMware Tunnel once it is available.  AirWAtch Tunnel leverages a Per-App VPN framework that was introduced in iOS 7, and it is possible that these frameworks may be deprecated in future versions of iOS.  Migrating to VMware Tunnel will ensure compatibility with future releases of iOS.  Additionally, all new features related to tunnel functionality will be introduced only to the VMware Tunnel client.

Note: VMware Tunnel 2.0+ requires iOS 9.0 and above. Additionally, VMware Tunnel requires AirWatch Console (along with Tunnel server version) to be on 9.0 and above. Future major releases and feature packs may have enhanced functionality to ease some aspects of the migration.

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New Customers

How to use VMware Tunnel

When deploying VMware Tunnel, you must ensure that the VMware Tunnel app is installed on a device before the Tunnel profile is pushed to the device.  If the profile is pushed before the app is installed, it will not configured correctly and the profile must be re-deployed.

  1. Deploy VMware Tunnel as a managed app in the AirWatch Console. This is the primary requirement for using VMware Tunnel seamlessly.
  2. Publish this application to all your devices and confirm its installation from the console.
  3. Navigate to Device Profiles in the AirWatch Console and create a new AirWatch Tunnel VPN profile for iOS and deploy it to all devices.
  4. This should configure and enable VMware Tunnel on each assigned device.

Note: The AirWatch Tunnel VPN profile can be deployed to both AirWatch Tunnel and VMware Tunnel with the same configuration.  The profile will deploy to the VMware Tunnel app if it is available on the device, but if not it will instead deploy to the AirWatch Tunnel app.

Note: In AirWatch 9.1 and 9.0.4 we have added a check box to the iOS VMware Tunnel profile which if checked would always enable VMware Tunnel. Once this box is checked and profile is published, even if the profile lands on the device before the VMware Tunnel client, it will still be able to configure VMware Tunnel. We recommend customers to use this feature for a better migration/deployment experience.

Existing Customers

Migration steps from AirWatch Tunnel to VMware Tunnel

We strongly recommend all customers to test this migration in a UAT environment or in a test group before making the change in production.  When deploying VMware Tunnel, you must ensure that the VMware Tunnel app is installed on a device before the Tunnel profile is pushed to the device.  If the profile is pushed before the app is installed, it will not configure correctly and the profile must be re-deployed.

  1. Deploy VMware Tunnel as a managed app in the AirWatch Console. This is the primary requirement for using VMware Tunnel seamlessly.
  2. Publish this application to all your devices and confirm its installation from the console.
  3. Once this is complete, re-publish the existing AirWatch Tunnel profile to all devices. This will activate VMware Tunnel and disable AirWatch Tunnel on the device.
  4. Now you can have your end users remove the AirWatch Tunnel app from their devices OR if it is pushed through AirWatch as a managed app, simply delete it from the AirWatch Console.

Note: In AirWatch 9.1 and 9.0.4 we have added a check box to the iOS VMware Tunnel profile which if checked would always enable VMware Tunnel. Once this box is checked and profile is published, even if the profile lands on the device before the VMware Tunnel client, it will still be able to configure VMware Tunnel. We recommend customers to use this feature for a better migration/deployment experience.

How much time do I have to migrate?

It is possible that the next major iOS release will no longer support the Per-App VPN framework used in the AirWatch Tunnel client.  In order to ensure support on devices as well as support for any new tunnel features introduced, AirWatch recommends planning to migrate your deployment to the VMware Tunnel client as soon as possible. 

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