Citrix buys Ardence!

Today Citrix announced that they are buying Ardence. I wrote a fairly in-depth paper about Ardence last February.

Today Citrix announced that they are buying Ardence. I wrote a fairly in-depth paper about Ardence last February. If you've never heard of them, I highly recommend that you at least skim that paper.

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.

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Nice one Brian, The technology looks really cool, I'm wondering if it could be used in conjunction with something like a WISE Terminal or other Thin terminal, assuming of course that it had enough memory in the thin terminal. Could you configure your thin device to boot to the network and load the V-Disk?
 
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Yes, if the terminal has enough power, you can do this. In fact, the [link=http:
Brian
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Hi,
 
A good move for Citrix to buy Ardence!.
Besides the great article of Ardence brian already mentioned i have created an presentation about Ardence several months ago.
Maybe usefull for others!.
The presentation can be downloaded from www.virtuall.nl (downloads, Solution Presentations).
 
With regards,
Ruben Spruijt
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You can stream to a Wyse Thin Client and depending on the memory and size of flash will determine the type of cache you can use.  For example, I can stream a full Windows XP image with all the fixings to a Wyse Winterm V90 with no issues.  With 1 gig of RAM, I can leverage the RAM for caching and the performance is awesome!  If you email their general address for information, someone will get back to you ASAP!
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I was working with Ardence towards a white paper myself last summer when they suddenly went quiet.  My take on them at the time was "good technology, but needs a nitche market or get bought by someone that can apply it".  The technology itself is a collection of pretty standard pieces brought together with a small ammount of "special sauce".  Someone else could put the pieces together as well, so the experience of the Ardence folks must be important to Citrix as well.  I would agree that this is a good pick-up by Citrix, but...
 
Citrix will have to invest more than just what they paid.  As I said it is good technology, not good product.  As technology, I believe it is a better fit with "fat client" than "thin" (not that it wouldn't work, I just don't find a compelling reason to complicate an already simple solution).  So this may be an important piece to a strategy of supplying a wide array of solutions to best fit particular needs. 
 
Citrix does seem to understand now that they can't just make one solution and expect the Enterprise to use it everywhere.  A strategy of providing different solutions that might make sense to different parts of the enterprise, yet centrally managed, would better allow them to continue to grow presense within a give Enterprise.  Simply put, tf Microsoft provides the OS (and some of the Applications), Citrix provides the means to provisioning and delivering the apps as needed. 
 

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Doesn't work for me,
http://www.citrix.com/English/NE/news/news.asp?newsID=162572&ntref=brianmadden
 
P.S: Whats &ntref=brianmadden mean in the URL?
 
 
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Hello mysterious new user!

I fixed the link. The problem was that I had it starting with "ttp://" instead of "http://" ... Just my fault copying and pasting.

Anyway, what is the &ntref=brianmadden? Is this evidence of my secret conspiracy relationship with them?

Nah!

I just noticed that the link to the press release contains an "ntref" URL parameter that changes depending on where the link was. So for example if you click on the link from the Citrix.com homepage, it includes "&ntref=hp_article_headlines_US."

So I wanted to remove that for my link because I didn't want to skew their web traffic data analysis by having my link look like it came from their homepage. I was going to just delete it, but then I thought, "Hey, I might as well let them know where this traffic is coming from." So I just made up the "brianmadden" part of the link.

Brian
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Funny thing was when i copy and paste'd the URL into my prev post, i noticed it was missing h from http, and i just thought that it was me, so i corrected it. How funny!
 
P.S: about the ref, I know , why do you think i brought it up!
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i am also happy with this announcement.
finally citrix woke up and doens't make the same mistake like several years ago with softricity.
 
i have seen ardence and also thought why is no one using this ?
 
 
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We also tested with Ardence 4.0, the idea is really cool...
 
However we use Neoware XPE clients, and the boot files are on the D: partition of these clients.. the distributor told us that it is not possible to create an image of a system that has it's boot files on the D: partition.
 
Is this correct?
 
Because if it is possible, this would rock! :)
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The distributor told you what was not possible with a D: boot partition? Ardence?
 
Brian
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They told us, it is not possible to create an "Ardence" image, from a system which has it's boot information on the D: partition and the windows directory and all on the C: drive.
 
Don't ask me why it is like this, but this is standard Neoware imaged client.
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Hi,
 
Watch this cool video!
http://www.virtuall.nl/videos/Ardence/Ardence%20v4.1%20Demo.wmv
 
With regards,
Ruben Spruijt
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Cairo -

Your distributor may not be aware of "Neoware Image Manager".
Neoware Image Manager is the alternative to Ardence. The only actual competitor in fact.
I know it, I made this software (with my team!).

I founded Qualystem Technology that was acquired by Neoware in April 2005.

Neoware Image Manager (this is the new name for the product that was previously known as "Qualystem LanPC 3") is also an "OS streaming" technology.
In fact, Brian is right when he writes that these are technologies that actually "allow 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." In the old days, it was called "remote boot".
Ardence and Neoware streaming technologies look similar (PXE based, use UDP, disk image files stored on a server, stream the Os and the applications...).

Now, Cairo, for your actual question:
I do not know for Ardence, but Neoware Image Manager can actually build an image of a Neoware XPe flashdisk (we do this every day). There is no problem if the boot files are stored on the D: partition.
We can build an image of any physical disk drive up to 4 terabytes, and there can be any number of partitions on the original HDD.

Neoware Image Manager has a unique feature: It embeds "UbiBoot" technology that makes it possible to build images that can boot heterogeneous hardware (Neoware TCs, Dell PCs, laptops, Intel based, AMD based, with different chipsets...). Each client boots off the very same image. This reduces the need for third party application streaming, because with a single image you can stream the OS and the applications to your clients, even if they are totally different (they just have to be able to run the same version of Windows).

More details about this product on Neoware web site:

http://www.neoware.com/software/image-manager.html

I am also sure that most Neoware distributors may now know about this product and may even manage to get some evaluation versions to anyone actually interested.
If not, just post a message on Neoware web site, I am pretty sure someone will contact you shortly.

- Yves

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ORIGINAL: Brian Madden

The distributor told you what was not possible with a D: boot partition? Ardence?

Brian

 
Not true - product has always been able to snapshot an image on a D: partition with OS installed there. I think the confusion is that Ardence only supports a single VDisk partition per machine - so you can't have a C: and a D:. In this case the PHD->VDisk copies the D: HD to a C: VDisk and modifies the boot.ini file to adjust the boot partition automatically.
 
As far as running on thin-client hardware that too is possible and supported in many different forms. There is an XPe component provided such that you can build your own custom XPe OS for the thin-client device and run it diskless - this is more for OEM situations.
 
OR you can take an existing XPe image on one of these devices, load the Ardence drivers and image the OS. This sometimes gets tricky because you may not have enough Flash to hold the initial installer or the XPe may have enough of the componentry removed that it can't do an .msi install or if the vendor has done something a little out of the ordinary you could have issues - but most often this is not the case and it can be done.
 
Most common way of using thin-client hardware is by simply attaching a hard drive and CD (or some other similar bootable device) - load up XP and the Ardence drivers on it - then image the drive to VDisk and remove FLASH and hard drive entirely. Tricky part sometimes is to find a way to get a hard drive connected - sometimes the IDE header is buried inside - sometimes the header is non standard and you need to beg for or build your own cable - maybe even the BIOS has a secret passkey to allow you to enable the hard disk.
 
Once you have an image set for that thin-client you can clone them, update them and do anything you like. Only have to do it once per new hardware reference platform. You then end-up with a thin-client running full XP Pro diskless and with no restrictions. No restrictions other than having to properly license it with Microsoft as a full XP Pro desktop that is .
 
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qint, your answer is very interesting (at least to me).


As long as Neoware Image manager is concerned, it can build an image of a complete HDD (with several partitions in it) or build an image of a single partition.

Furthermore, Neoware Image Manager supports several VDisks per machine, you can have a C:, a D: an E: etc. All of them can be different images files on the server or the C: and the D: can be two partitions sitting in a single image file and the E: being actually another image file. Any combination is possible.

Moreover, if you use any software application to "clone" a D: partition into a C: partition, you will have broken references to your D: pathes in your registry. This is not a trivial issue.

This highlights one of the differences (and I hope one of the advantages) of Neoware Image Manager vs Ardence.

The rest of your post applies as well to Ardence or Neoware Image Manager, especially what deals with finding the IDE connector or enabling IDE HDDs in the hardware platform.
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