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."
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.