Citrix shares more VDI in a Box vision. Bottom line: 2012 will be better with a consistent message

I had a phone call with Kumar Goswami, formerly of Kaviza and now VP of Product & Strategy at Citrix about the article I wrote a few weeks ago on Citrix's VDI in a Box message.

 

I had a phone call with Kumar Goswami, formerly of Kaviza and now VP of Product & Strategy at Citrix about the article I wrote a few weeks ago on Citrix's VDI in a Box message. It turns out that, while some of the field messaging that we've been hearing is off-base, the message that Kumar is delivering within Citrix is pretty close to in line with what I wrote about.

Kumar agreed that the use case should determine the best solution for the organization, regardless of the size of the organization. The only place that company size comes into play is when spreading leads around to partners. In that case, they're using company size to determine which product should be used to break the ice with a customer, not as a technical restriction.

That could still be a problem if existing preconceived (or ill-conceived) notions are believed, so to deal with that, Citrix is starting to ramp up an education program for marketing and sales (which also flows down to partners) on just how to decide on the proper product for a use case. Part of that effort will be to help identify situations where VDI-in-a-Box works in large organizations with an "SMB use case" (I'm still not a fan of calling in that, but I guess you have to call it something), and vice-versa.

Kumar also explained 2011 has been spent onboarding the Kaviza team and getting the product Citrix-ified (my word, not his :). Because of this, marketing and sales haven't gotten the attention and education they need. That process begins soon, and by early 2012, they expect the "use case" message to be consistent across the board. That should deal with all the different numbers being thrown around regarding how many users VDI-in-a-Box is meant to handle.

With regards to an upgrade path to XenDestop, there a number of technical reasons that an actual software upgrade can't happen, but Citrix is hammering out the details of a license-only upgrade that will essentially allow people who have invested in VDI-in-a-Box to put that investment towards XenDesktop licenses in the future. While there is no formal package yet, Citrix is dealing with the issue on a case by case basis. So, if you want to take advantage of the upgrade, contact your rep.

A few other notes that tie up some loose ends from other conversations, not necessarily from the article:

 

  • VDI-in-a-Box will be in the CSP (Citrix Service Provider) program next year, which is a program that covers licensing for hosted environments.
  • There are no known caps on how many users/sessions/desktops VDI-in-a-Box can support. The plan is to let the market figure that out.
  • They realize that there is some overlap between the two products, but the hope is that education can narrow the gray area
Hopefully 2012 bears this out and I can finally find a new soapbox. And, CSP's - I'd love to hear how how both XenDesktop and VDI-in-a-Box work for you once everything becomes official. As you may know, Brian is becoming a huge fan of outsourcing VDI desktops for up to thousands of users, and I'd like know what you can deliver easily and what your main challenges are when moving desktops outside and organization. We'll save that for later in 2012, though.

 

 

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It's cool that they're going to offer the license-only upgrade, but can you imagine the rude awakening that a customer is in for? VDI in a Box is so easy and straightforward, while XenDesktop is a super complex non-integrated bucket of everything.


As for the CSP license, that seems great. Imagine VDI in a Box plus Nutanix? (Though I guess due to Microsoft licensing restrictions, a single provider couldn't use that across multiple customers, so nevermind. Goddamn you Microsoft!)


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hmmm. I'm in two minds about the licensing upgrade move. Wouldn't a more common request from customers be for a XenApp license *within* the VDI-in-a-box solution, to allow the customer to utilise the Flexcast mantra for VDI-in-a-box and not just XenDesktop.


Taking this onboard could mean that some fairly large organisations who would otherwise have mainly XenApp plus a small number of tactical XenDesktop implementations (while they wait for their app vendors to sort themselves out with 64-bit and/or Win2008 R2  [AppDNA can obviously prove this BTW :-) ]) could be better served by VDI-in-a-box, with it's more simple solution, for a set of "problem" app users


Currently, use case is fairly simple to me. If the business requirements point to FlexCast being needed = XenDesktop


If the business requires simplicity and reliability above all else and is happy for VDI across the board (with NO XenApp), or if the whole thing is to be run on premise by a remote service provider = VDI-IN-A-Box.


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You're absolutely right, Chris. Somehow adding including XenApp would be a great addition, and something to bolster the adoption of VDI-in-a-Box by expanding its use case.


I don't think it needs all of Flexcast, since the other features would fall into the more advanced use case for XenDesktop, but XenApp should be there.


The main argument to that is Brian's first paradox (that sounds so official...it's not meant to), which goes something along the lines of "If you're environment is simple enough to go with shared image VDI, then it's probably simple enough for TS". However, I still think that buying VDI-in-a-Box with XenApp allows you to mix and match your solutions as needed, while keeping a relatively simple VDI environment.

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