As Tim Mangan blogged earlier this week, Citrix iForum The App Delivery Expo, presented by Citrix, definitely had a huge virtualization focus. ("Citrix VMworld" was the joke circulating through the closing party.)
Obviously this is fueled by Citrix's acquisition of XenSource, which now puts VMware squarely in the crosshairs of Citrix in terms of competition. And since Microsoft also hates VMware, and since Microsoft and Citrix constantly remind us how strong their partnership is, this means that Microsoft and Citrix now have a common enemy in addition for the love they have for each other.
But before Citrix made the XenSource acquisition, Citrix and VMware were very close friends. Citrix's Desktop Server product (now called "XenDesktop") leveraged VMware's technology for desktop VMs. Just last year Citrix's David Jones said, "We've worked with VMware in the past, and look forward to expanding our efforts with VMware in virtual desktop infrastructures as well."
What he didn't say was, "until of course we decide to compete against you."
Citrix has a long history of establishing partnerships with companies, building or buying competitive solutions, and kicking the partners out of their programs and not allowing them to participate at iForum. (Just ask Lakeside Software, eG Innovations, Expand Networks, Provision Networks, RTO Software... and there are dozens more examples.)
In the five hours of keynotes over two days at Citrix's App Delivery Expo this week, the word "VMware" was not mentioned once. Not one single time. Mark Templeton talked about Xen being the "Number Two" hypervisor on the market. He talked about what it did and showed demos. Of course a keynote presentation is not the appropriate time to mention competition by name or to get into tactical mud fights, but VMware definitely was the 800-pound gorilla in the room that no one dared mention.
After the opening keynote was over and the exhibit hall opened, I had a chuckle as I looked at VMware's booth. They were very literally shoved all the way back in the far left corner.
It was weird. There was so much empty space the exhibit hall. And then there's VMware, all the way in the back tucked into a corner. The booths in the center of the floor did not extend back that far such that the only way you would walk back there was if you were doing an Eulerian circuit or hugging the outside wall.
This wasn't the first snub that Citrix gave to VMware. Just two months ago VMware's own VMworld, Citrix and Microsoft announced that Citrix / Xen-based and Microsoft-based virtualization platforms would share the same VM format, effectively "flipping VMware the bird at their own conference," according to blogger Gabe Knuth.
VMware isn't just sitting down and taking all these punches though. VMware's CEO, Diane Green, said "we haven't seen any impact" when asked whether Citrix was hurting their sales.
At the closing party of Citrix's Expo, there was also a rumor that VMware kicked Citrix out of their partner program, although at the time of this writing I haven't been able to confirm that, and Citrix is still listed in VMware's partner showcase as a Global Technology Alliance Partner.
The bottom line though, if you didn't believe it before, is that "it's on!" between Citrix and VMware.