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In nutshell, Ardence is a software company that allows you to virtualize the physical disks in a computer, allowing the computer to boot from the network and to "mount" a virtual disk image file from a file server across the network. Multiple client computers can share the same disk image file, meaning you can essentially "upgrade" a huge number of machines simply by changing a single disk image file on a server and then rebooting the machines. (Think of this like "instant" provisioning and imaging.)
In my article from February, I wrote about how Ardence could majorly improve the management and deployment of Citrix servers. (Just imagine, you can "re-image" an entire server simply by rebooting it... And I don't mean "reboot it and it downloads the new image." I mean "reboot it and it's ready to go immediately, because it's actually mounting the image across the network.")
Anyway, my article focused on the impact that Ardence could have for Citrix Presentation Servers. But that's only half of the story. The other major area where Ardence can really change the game is in VDI deployments.
Think about it.
In today's VDI deployments, each desktop (regardless of whether it's a VM or physical blade) must connect to a disk or disk image. Sure, with VMware you could make a copy of a VMDK disk image file for every VM as it was provisioned, but you still have to deal with all those files. With Ardence, you can create a single disk image file that can be simultaneously shared by hundreds of Windows XP desktops (physical, virtual, blades, whatever!)
Now that Citrix is evolving from a pure server-based computing company into a true application delivery company, they're spending more time thinking about how applications get to the users, be it server-based computing, application streaming (with Project Tarpon), or VDI (with Project Trinity).
So while Ardence is a totally cool product (and should be used by everyone in my mind) for managing Presentation Servers and their images, I think the real reason Citrix bought Ardence is for the play they bring to the VDI and desktop / device image management space.
Now for the facts about the deal:
- The purchase amount was undisclosed, although it might sneak out in the annual report.
- Ardence is based in Boston, and they will stay there and become part of Citrix's systems management group. (This is the group that was created when Citrix bought Reflectent which is now in charge of Citrix's EdgeSight APM product.)
- This OS streaming product was only half of what Ardence does. They also have an embedded OEM platform group. (In fact this is the group that wrote Windows NT Embedded for Microsoft back in the day.) Citrix is buying the entire company, including this embedded device group.
- Ardence will continue to operate fairly autonomously for the first year or so.
I am personally very excited about this. Ever since I first saw Ardence, my main thought was "Why isn't everyone using this?" Now that they will be part of Citrix, I hope that people will really take a look at their technology.