Let's start of the week with a discussion. Do you believe the "total solution" will be available from a single vendor? Or is that a relic of the last decade?
Think about how our world is expanding. At first we focused on Terminal Server for remote Windows desktops and Windows apps. Then we got into application virtualization, both on the Terminal Servers and the clients. Then we started focusing on user profile management, again both on the Terminal Servers and traditional Windows clients. After that we started looking at SSL-VPNs and remote access to those Terminal Server environments. Then we got into VDI and client VMs... Eventually we said we were in the "Windows delivery" game (for both desktops and apps).
But no sooner than we realized that did we start to look at other, non-Windows applications. First it was delivering web apps to our users, both in-house and SaaS. Now we're thinking about delivering native mobile apps for iOS and Android. That takes us into the MDM/MAM space. And who can forget the data? In the old days we provided simple file shares for our users, but nowadays we have to provide Dropbox-like functionality too.
And of course, the list goes on and on...
Now let's think about how we've traditionally dealt with all of these things. In 2003, Citrix launched their "Access" marketing campaign which centered on them providing access to all the data and apps that users need. They had MetaFrame for Windows applications and desktops. They had just bought Sequoia for a web portal. Over the next few years they branched into the networking space by buying several companies, including Net6 for an SSL-VPN, Netscaler for performance and security, Orbital Data for WAN acceleration. So at this point your "Windows access" company was also competing in these other areas to provide the entire "solution." Customers had to decide whether they wanted to buy the complete solution from one vendor or build it piecemeal from lots of different vendors.
Of course it didn't end there. Citrix got into the app virtualization and profile management space. They bought a hypervisor. They bought client virtualization and user management tools. They bought cloud framework tools. The announced mobile application management capabilities for CloudGateway. They bought a Dropbox-like tool called Sharefile. They bought a web collaboration company. They can deliver secure native email clients to iPhones and Android devices. Again, the list goes on...
And of course VMware is doing the exact same thing, (just in a slightly different order). VMware created a great hypervisor and datacenter platform. Then they bought a VDI connection broker. Then they bought an app virtualization company and licensed a remoting protocol. They bought or built a bunch of apps for end users, including email, collaboration, office productivity and in-house twitter-like tools. They built their own Dropbox-like data sync tool. They're building products to connect in-house users to Windows, web, and mobile apps. They're getting into MDM and MAM.
So over the years, both Citrix and VMware are expanding their "solution" as we expand our definition of what we deliver to our users. Of course the vendors want to provide that one stop shop for the users, ideally with a single product and a single license (which will never happen—not their fault though). But as end customers, we're stuck asking ourselves whether we want this from one company? Do I want my Windows delivery company to build my SSL-VPN? Do I want my datacenter virtualization vendor to build a desktop client?
There are so many ways that this becomes painful. Vendor focus. Product quality. Licensing. Core competency. And it's ironic that as we're reading more and more about web standards and open connectivity, we're faced with the vendors doing everything they can to ensure that their solutions only work with other parts of their solutions. (Desktop delivery platform only works on their hypervisor. Data management client is built into their desktop receiver client. Their SSL-VPN can only see inside their protocol...)
So where does this leave us? Is anyone considering Citrix or VMware for the "complete" solution? Or is that an anachronism? Is there any true advantage to buying everything you need to deliver end user computing from one place? Are these companies destined to turn into CA, Symantec, or IBM? What else are we not thinking about here?
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