Citrix invests in Kaviza...What does this mean?

Yesterday, Kaviza announced a partnership with Citrix, which is business-speak for "Citrix invested some money into Kaviza." Brian wrote about Kaviza for SearchVirtualDesktop.

Yesterday, Kaviza announced a partnership with Citrix, which is business-speak for "Citrix invested some money into Kaviza." Brian wrote about Kaviza for SearchVirtualDesktop.com, and we've also featured them on Brian Madden TV

For those that aren't familiar, Kaviza offers a product they call "VDI-in-a-box," which simplifies VDI deployments for small to medium sized environments by including all the important bits in a single virtual appliance. Currently, Citrix only has XenDesktop Express edition, which is pretty limited as far as functionality goes. It makes sense for them to take interest in a company that provides a product that falls in line with Citrix's other SMB product - XenApp Fundamentals (formerly Citrix Access Essentials).

What's interesting about Kaviza is that they're not leaving out many of the key features with their product. All the host servers belong to what Kaviza calls a grid, and the virtual appliances on this grid take care of load balancing, brokering connections, desktop templates (Kaviza uses linked clones, not just 1:1 VM's), and data replication. Updates are handled behind the scenes on the templates, then rolled out when complete. All in all, Kaviza has most of the important features that people look for from the big guys. Scaling up the Kaviza grid is nothing more than standing up a new ESXi server, loading the virtual appliance, and pointing it to the grid. The software takes it from there and replicates all the data and other information the server needs to become a grid member, even over the WAN.

So where will this go? Currently, Kaviza only runs on ESXi (the site says they are hypervisor agnostic, but all the docs say otherwise), so the next step for them is to add support for more hypervisors. That's something that's expected in mid-2010. I'll be very interested in seeing what Kaviza has going on at Synergy. I doubt there will be any co-branding or anything like that, but I wonder if this partnership can lead to something like a XenDesktop Fundamentals or the inclusion of ICA (arr...HDX now!) into the product. As far as I know, that hasn't happened before, but there's a first time for everything.

Who knows? Maybe there's an acquisition in the future...

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This underlines the fact that XD is overkill for the SMB. I still don't get Kaviza, if this is an SMB play, or XD Express what is the rocket science behind this? It's just HDX Connect to a desktop instance (oh yeah it can be done)..... Immature product that will lack the mgmt to scale. Uncertain for sure, and hence why they invested and did not buy, it miust have been pocket change to experiment with.


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Appdetective,   the key “rocket science” has to do with developing a solution that provides provisioning, load balancing and high-availability without shared storage.  With our solution you can just chain a bunch of servers with DAS (direct attached storage) and have them all work in unison as if they all had access to some global shared storage and hence access to the same state information needed to coordinate and run all the servers in the system properly.  


The challenge lies in doing this in a way that is scalable and very miserly with respect to the network BW it requires so that you can keep costs down and simplify its deployment and on-going management.  You may recall that Left Hand Networks had solutions to create a shared storage from a bunch of DASs but this required additional NIC cards on each server and lots of CPU.  Rather than use a brute force approach we leverage the fact that we are managing desktops to reduce the amount of information that needs to be moved-about the grid and how often they have to be moved about by orders of magnitude thus making it possible to create a very simple, affordable and scalable solution using just off-the-shelf commodity hardware.  


The UI may seem deceptively simple but that’s by design.  The automation happens under the hood as it should be and takes much of the burden away from the administrator.  Let me know if you have further questions.


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