Citrix accuses VMware of using a Gartner quote out of context to support View. Gartner's fault!

Oh we have quite a fun little controversy brewing between Citrix and VMware today. I was going to try to follow this via twitter, but there's sort of too much going on.

Oh we have quite a fun little controversy brewing between Citrix and VMware today. I was going to try to follow this via twitter, but there's sort of too much going on. The story goes like this:

As you know, one of the big differences between VMware's and Citrix's datacenter-hosted desktop virtualization offerings is that VMware View is just based on VDI and desktop virtualization, while Citrix XenDesktop offers those capabilities but also includes XenApp which delivers shared Terminal Server-based desktops and applications. This is something that we've all known about for years, as there are many situations when delivering a shared Terminal Server-based desktop from the datacenter will meet a customer's needs at a much lower price point than VDI.

Fine, so that's the landscape. It's been like that for years, and it's probably not going to change anytime soon.

So this morning, Citrix's desktop CTO Harry Labana wrote a blog post accusing VMware of taking a Gartner quote out of context. After reading Harry's post and the original VMware press release, it appears to me that this is the case.

Last week VMware put out a press release which quoted Gartner around the cost savings of VMware View. The problem is the Gartner quote was about the cost savings of "server-based computing" (SBC), a term that Gartner uses only to refer to the Terminal Server-flavor of datacenter-hosted desktops and apps. But VMware View doesn't do Terminal Server?!? Gartner uses the term "Hosted Virtual Desktops" (HVD) to describe VDI. It's possible whoever put the press release together at VMware was thinking that SBC also meant VDI. A mistake which hopefully they would correct with another press release. But what's weird is that Gartner VP Chris Wolf wrote, via twitter, that "Our quote usage policy requires a contextual review (i.e., quote in final press release) for approval."

I replied that that seemed weird then, like the context was, "SBC saves a lot of money versus traditional desktops. Of course this VMware product doesn't actually do that, but just so you know if it did, it would save a lot."

Chris replied that he was following up, then "Most days never start out like you think they will."

It will be interesting to see how this unfolds. As you know I believe that lack of Terminal Server support is a hole in VMware's end user computing strategy, and I also believe that Terminal Server-based desktops are far cheaper while being able to support many of the same features of VDI. Now VMware believes this from the marketing standpoint, so maybe finally they'll tune their product offering to match?

UPDATE 1 (Monday afternoon): VMware provides a statement for clarification

I just received a statement from VMware's PR:

The recent joint announcement between Wyse and VMware, on February 9, featured a quote by Gartner looking at the TCO benefits associated with server-based computing (SBC). The Wyse portfolio of thin, zero and cloud PC client solutions supports both SBC and VDI. It is appropriate for Wyse to choose the feature this when talking about their products. VMware's portion of the announcement featured customer momentum and results related to our portfolio of desktop and application virtualization technologies.

You can read the press release for yourself to see if you agree. Personally I think it's hogwash. The entire press release is about VMware View and Wyse. They have three quotes from three school districts about View and they talk about View academic SKUs. At no point is any type of Terminal Server-based solution mentioned. The only way you'd know the SBC quote does NOT apply to View is if you knew that Gartner's own use of "SBC" means Terminal Server.

Who knows if it was on purpose or an oversight? They'll claim it was a mistake. The conspiracy theorists will believe otherwise. If you asked me over a beer I'd tell you that I don't believe they did it on purpose, but that it was not wise to respond with the statement they used. Instead they should have put a new quote with VDI-specific data in it and reissued the press release. Then they'd be done. But now we're left with a release where TS is doing the heavy lifting to power the "success" of the TCO savings of VDI. And that's exactly what I accused them of doing three years ago, which I wish was a thing of the past.

UPDATE 2 (Wednesday): Wyse confirms that Gartner approved the quote!?!

In the latest twist it looks like "yes," there is a dumbass here, but that dumbass is Gartner! As part of this whole funtroversy, it was revealed that Gartner requires approval before publishing anything that quotes them. (They even have an email alias setup just for this purpose.) Since Wyse was the lead on this press release, they submitted it to the Gartner approval alias, and Gartner came back and approved it! (This has been confirmed by Wyse PR.)

So yeah, this quote is horribly out-of-context, but that's Gartner's fault, not Wyse or VMware's.

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I always thought Gartner's use of the "SBC" term is faulty.


There is no doubt in my mind that VMware could have done this on purpose, but IMO it really doesn't matter.

This is just an example of how the whole desktop virtualization industry needs to revisit how technologies are labelled.

I think together the industry should lay out rules to correctly name their products. Saying something is VDI to me means "Virtual Desktop Infrastructure" NOT "Server Hosted Virtual Desktops"

Citrix, VMware, Gartner, everyone - get on the same page.

In my opinion, VDI should be synonymous to Desktop Virtualization and should be split up in two categories: Server Based Computing (SBC) and Client Based Computing (CBC).

In the SBC realm you would have Server Hosted Shared Desktops (SHSD), Server Hosted Virtual Desktops (SHVD), Server Hosted Virtual Applications (SHVA), etc.

SHVD can be split up into many different types (look at Citrix FlexCast model).

SHVA can also be split up into many categories. Some examples are XenApp can do Hosted and Streamed to SHVD while ThinApp can be distributed to SHVD.

In the CBC realm you would have Client Hosted Virtual Desktops (CHVD) and Client Hosted Virtual Applications (CHVA).

CHVD and CHVA can be streamed from the datacenter.

Just my 2 cents...


Good ol' VMware.  King of marketing, ruler of nothing..


I just through all the post. Clearly VMW is full of you know what. They have been doing it since 2009 and hence they are in breach of contract with Gartner. There has to be a legal issue here, otherwise F it do whatever you want with Gartner information. I am sure somebody will get fired over this, and it's good that all the idiots who think VDI is it are being called out. It's been a long time coming and I agree the media and analysts are idiots for the most part. I laugh when I read it's two horse race. It's even more interesting that Wyse is involved. Of course everybody's girlfriend loud mouth CEO of Wyse is happy to give reach arounds to anybody that will pimp his $$$$$$$$$ solution that locks you in. I don't understand why Citrix continues to do business with these scum bags. What excuse are they going to give, they don't understand SBC either.

Will be interesting to see the response. Surely they have to for legal reasons. I wonder if a customer can sue for false advertising etc.


We should care about pointing out misleading marketing tricks and we should also care about the indefinite terminology that allowed these tricks to take place.

@Brian - you stated a few times that VDI (hosted) is a form of SBC. What do you think now?


It is a strange way to interpret it but I must add that where I cannot deny that XenApp is the cheaper way sometimes, but only if you have the system in place. ThinApp is awsome these days and you should recognize it as a less expensive alternative also since it is usable without View or Xen.

Marketing departments and Gartner reports just confuse management and makes our jobs harder than they need to be. Instead of firming up the terminology we should just not let them talk about technology at all.


Yeah, we do need a common lexicon. All of the confusion, purposeful or not, stems from differing interpretations of the term SBC. The key is to take into consideration how each speaker defines the term. As techheads, we understand this.

But not all consumers of these technologies are techheads.

@Icelus - Your taxonomy is logical, consistent, I like it a lot, and it will never gain acceptance. Why? It doesn't cater to any of the vendors' desires. So far though, your post offers the most constructive thought.


@davidjlane - Seriously? Not let someone talk about technology?

@appdetective, I really appreciate most of your posts. They're like short out-takes of 'In The Loop', as well as being informative.


posted by @appdetective

VMware have no backbone

VMware are caught with their pants down and will cry like school girls. They are too arrogant to admit they screwed up big time. I also hold Gartner accountable here as well as Wyse. Basic tenants such as SBC are being debated by idiots in the media who have no opinion and moron commentators (vmw fanboys) in the blogs just goes to show how many dumb asses there really are out there. These are all well established things. All these idiots commenting remind me of creationist appeal to morons who still question evolution.

For the babies that read the blogs and cry about facts, why don't you step back for a minute pull out your desktop 101 book and then say something. Your VMware sales quota is not happening and the merit of what is being debated is very real. So much VMware BS out there it's holding stuff back as idiot server admins try to implement the desktop and even dumber desktop guys don't understand what TCO is about. It always hurts people trying to get into the industry or trying to make living of it when the vendor lies.

VMware should publicly apologize for spreading turd to their customers. If I am a customer who fell for the nonsense I would ask for my money back.

So all you dumb Fers who have your panties twisted, go yell at VMware for spreading complete horse S..T in the first place. Are you blind?


It could be a strategy... could not imagine that such big company (with good product in many cases) could persistently make such big mistake... The next BigBlue monster ???

Remember (just some I retreive)  :

- VMWorld US hotel policy to block competitive meeting (

- VMWorld US booth policy (the 3x3 with no competitive demo)

- 2009 TCO "mistake"  (

- VMWorld EMEA program (


Thanks for sharing Brian.  I tend to agree that VMware and Gartner are both at fault for false advertising.  Their combat statement was pointless as you mentioned.  


@Ron Kuper, so answer your question: "you stated a few times that VDI (hosted) is a form of SBC. What do you think now?"

Well I still think that SBC is more about where the desktop is running rather than what OS it is, so in that sense I feel that VDI is a form of SBC. But I also recognize that the industry has sort of moved beyond that and use the term SBC to describe TS only.

And more importantly, for the quote from Gartner, it doesn't matter what I think, it matters what they mean, and clearly they mean TS.


The Citrix blog link that @AppD posted is now dead, but there's a Google cache. :)


Surly Gartner was referring to TS, no doubt about that.

Well then, that’s settles it.

Realistically though the "industry" is big and still we get a lot of presenters at our organization each with their preferred meaning to SBC... We have to be alert to keep confusion down :-)


@appdetective  What thin client company/product would you recommend if Wyse is too expensive and locks the customer in?


Gartner was several years behind before jumping on the virtualization bandwagon.  They should not be allowed to defined "industry standard" acronyms!



I'm familiar with pass-through authentication, and I can just about avoid making a fool of myself when discussing reverse seamless, but this "reach around" thing that Wyse provides,  I'm afraid I've no idea what that is. Could you explain please.




@Mike Stanley

At the end of the day, you pay for the thin client, but it is only important that you select a vendor that is going to provide you with support.  I am confused about what AppDetective means by getting locked in to a vendor.  All thin clients support the most common remote protocols (RDP/ICA/etc).  You may get locked in to a solution (VMware PCoIP/XenDesktop ICA) if you purchase zero clients that may only be utilized with those technologies.  I would recommend that you look at thin clients that support all/most of the different application delivery mechanisms (SBC, desktop virtualization, etc).  This would give you the flexibility of being able to address the needs of your users depending on the application.  


As others have stated, the terminology is confusing and frankly wrong.

"Hosted virtual desktop" should refer to a virtual desktop hosted by a thrid party provider.  Whether this is server based computing "SBC" or virtual desktop infrastructure "VDI", the addition of the "hosted" to virtual desktop should only refer to a service hosted by a hosting provider.  Some may want to call this DaaS; however, a software vendor has copywritten DaaS and should not be legitimately used.

The industry as a whole slings these terms around too loosely and creates its own confusion.

I suggest that we clarify these terms and refer to a virtual desktop has one that is either provided as SBC or VDI, both have a place for certain users, and only refer to a hosted virtual desktop as one that is hosted by a hosting provider.


@BrianMadden - Not to be pedantic.... but VMware View does actually broker to Terminal Servers. Do you want to update your blog to reflect this? People might think that View doesn't do Terminal Services based on your comments.


I feel so much frustration from many contributors it's scary.

I recall Citrix putting out big press releases about SAP, Oracle and others that had to be pulled out or corrected.  So no one is clean here.

My own opinion on SBC is that I take it to the letter.  It is computing on servers, which is what VDI is about.  So VDI is a form of SBC.  TS is another one.  Whether one is better/cheaper/whatever than the other really depends on the context, customer needs, etc.  To dismiss any of these technologies would be immature.

To Mattc and Mark Moeller, I think you made the most objective comments in this post.  Thank you.

To appdetective, you really should take anger management classes.  It would be good for you.  It's so easy to talk like this when you hide behind a pseudonym and a pilot helmet.  To me, and hopefully to all customers reading this, this only demonstrates your low level of maturity.



You article is misdirecting.  VMWare Views broker does support Terminal Services.  Hell with modern advances of TS, you can do application publishing just using TS.  Now, I personally wouldn't do that, XA has a ton of features that TS doesn't.  But to say that VV doesn't support TS is misleading.  

There are only two key features missing from VV compared to XD.  Remote App streaming, and doing a VHD for a physical box which is doable using Provisioning Services.  I'm not sure in the long run if remote app streaming is going to be a hot topic.  If a desktop is already being streammed to the end user why stream an application and add that level of complexity.  I know this is an argument all in itself and I conceed that in a lot of scenarios for TCO there is a valid argument that disagrees with me.  As far as doing a VHD to a physical desktop... eh... is this really heavily used?  I think its a sweet idea that is getting over shadowed because VDI is the better way to go.


I'd argue over the degree to which View supports TS. Yeah, it can broker connections to a TS session. But that's it. It can't broker to individual seamless apps. And PCoIP is not supported to TS.. so you read all this great stuff from VMW about how awesome it is, but it's not for TS. And the ThinPrint technology that they OEM'ed is also VDI-only, not TS.

All that, plus VMware themselves spend a lot of time dissing TS and talking about how much better VDI is, so I don't feel like they actually support it.. It's more like some half-baked quasi-functional leftover Propero garbage.

And then the fact that VMware released the statement blaming Wyse for this thing.. that means that even they don't think they support TS. (Because if they did they would have said so, instead of just saying, "Hey, not our fault.. that came from Wyse.")


Evolution is real, global warming is real and there is precedence and science to support these facts. Despite that there are still plenty of dumb asses who insist that there is a better explanation that better fits with their own flawed misguided belief system.

@David_D You can certainly argue for what you would prefer, but as a typical junior IT admin mindset that you demonstrate and i have to fire every year you simply don't get it. There are plenty of so called experts like you in IT who simply don't understand that the economics of SBC and VDI are totally different even if you want to lump into some generic category to simplify for simple minds. However that doesn't change the FACT that there there are different distinct hosted data center desktop models that offer different economics that HAVE to be understood. If you don't then you are simply ignorant and of low intelligence like 80% of people in IT who simply press buttons and don't think or understand why or what. It's also why these other fools are posting about RDP brokering with View and not understanding  that SBC solutions require a lot more to become a solution and hence why VMW has removed their quote. And yes Gartner screwed up, but their definition is correct because it correctly identifies that there is more than VDI in the datacenter at different economics.

@Simon Bramfitt. Reach around can also be thought of as what RES is giving you to promote pay for Reverse Seamless, when it should be a free protocol feature.....

@Mike Stanley. Be very careful with all thin clients that remove Windows from the end point as you loose flexibility to run some local apps which you may need. If you 100% don't need to do that then it may be ok, but there is a huge benefit in using commodity hardware and is getting cheaper all the time and allows you to easily change provide and separate the software stack. I like the WinFLP replacement that is offered in Windows 7 now as part of SA :-(. It means I can use my existing PC fleet with a thinner cheaper Windows build and retain flexibility. Don't buy the Linux is more secure BS either. It's the same BS as Macs are more secure. Lot's of good blogs on this site about thin clients and why they are $hit from others if you perform a simple search.



I'm afraid you will have to forgive appdetective, puberty is a difficult time.

SBC is one of those unfortunate acronyms that serves more to confuse than clarify. Rather than attempting to redefine it we would be better off accepting that it was a poor choice and burying it once and for all.  The same really should be said for VDI.  VDI was VMware's first generation desktop virtualization product, not shorthand for an entire computing architecture. VMware have moved on and new desktop virtualization architectures now exist that bare no resemblance to VDI, Yet still we persist in holding the industry back by slavishly hanging on to obsolete terminology to describe new concepts.

This marketing message was brought to you by Wanova


@simonbramfitt I get it. You don't like Gartner after things didn't work out. You now have your own active and I will say mostly well written blog, but need to figure out how to get paid. So if you can pimp out vendor products with a more technical twist as opposed to the usual Gartner blah, try to sound as switzerland as you possibly can, then people may pay you for advertisements, you get consulting gigs from one post wonders like @David_D. I have nothing against that. I just happen to think you are completely missing the plot when it comes to the RES Reverse Seamless joke. I will write a blog soon that will outline in more detail why and you are welcome to comment. You refreshingly get what is SBC etc and are willing to talk about it, so hooray for you.

BTW since i'm in puberty I guess I figured out the answer to the question- who was the short bald old man on the "Benny hill Show" whose head Benny would constantly slap? I guess I should update the answer here Now go enjoy your meds with your scotch in hand and keep up your decent blog while you plot Gartner's downfall.