Last week Quest Software announced that they would begin selling and supporting MokaFive's client-based desktop virtualization product. This means that Quest can now offer a very complete (albeit not integrated) solution to support datacenter desktops (both VDI and TS/Session-based) and client-based VMs (both "Type 2" and "bare metal"). It also means that Quest can now compete against Citrix's "FlexCast" messaging, as offline/local had been the major hole in Quest vWorkspace before now.
Digging into the deal
The deal announced last week essentially means that Quest will resell and support MokaFive's Suite. (If you're not familiar with MokaFive, they have a client-based VM management solution, including image management, disk layering, patching, updating, backup, & remote wipe capabilities. They leverage the VM player/Fusion/Virtual Box/etc. for "Type 2" client-based VMs, and they also have a Linux-based "bare metal" solution.)
At this point the version of MokaFive that Quest will resell and support is basically the exact same thing you can also buy directly from MokaFive. The only real difference is the branding and the licensing (that integrates with Quest's licensing). Well, that and the fact that you can buy it through the Quest channel, and you get 24/7 support from directly from Quest in your own language, etc.)
But from a technical standpoint, there's no integration between MokaFive and Quest vWorkspace.
The Quest MokaFIve Suite, as they're calling it, including 24/7 support, is $299 for a perpetual license or $150 per year for an annual license. (That's the same rate card price that MokaFive has directly. In fact MokaFive doesn't care where you buy it from as they get paid either way. :)
This seems like one of those rare "win-win" deals. MokaFive gets a much bigger channel for their product and now has options for customers who need 24/7 or local language support. And Quest finally has an answer for local/offline use cases and has a more complete offering when competing against Citrix or VMware.
I asked representatives of MokaFive why Quest didn't buy them outright. They said that I needed to ask Quest. So I did, and Quest basically said that they couldn't afford to, saying, "MokaFive has taken $38m in funding, so you can imagine what the price tag would be."
I also asked both Quest and MokaFive whether any money changed hands for this deal. They both said "yes," but neither would elaborate (or even say which company paid which).
Taking a look down the road
So obviously this is a first step. At this point the products are not integrated and Quest is really nothing more than a reseller & support engine. But they have aggressive plans to continue to integrate the two products. And although they're not publicly talking about their plans, we can assume what they might be.
For example, I assume that they'll eventually get to the point where you can use the same disk image for both your Quest vWorkspace VDI instances and your local MokaFive instances. I assume they'll integrate the Quest Windows 7 display protocol extensions (which Quest calls "EOP") into the MokaFive images so you can remotely connect to your clients or "port" your existing VM back-and-forth between the datacenter and a laptop. And I assume they'll integrate the consoles and the workflows (image creation, policies, revocation, etc.) so that admins have a single place to control & provision everything--regardless of the delivery engine. And I assume MokaFive will extend their layering into Quest vWorkspace so you can use the same layering technology for your VDI instances. (That topic actually deserves its own article. More on that later this week.)
But Quest vWorkspace & MokaFive aren't integrated! Isn't that a #FAIL?
I know some will say that since it's not integrated, that's a problem. But come on... Look at XenDesktop. How well are all of their components integrated? XenDesktop and XenApp are not really integrated at all. (Hell, they can't even share the same policies or the same database.) Nor are either of those really integrated with Provisioning Server. And of course if you use XenClient (which is bare metal only--Citrix doesn't have a Type 2 client solution), you have to manage disk images with another tool--XenClient can't use Provisioning Server. So my point is that all the components that make up XenDesktop are certainly not integrated.
Compare that to Quest. With Quest & MokaFive, yeah, you don't get integration between the client-based and datacenter-based desktop options, but Quest's VDI and TS/Session Host products are 100% integrated. (Actually it is literally the same product and same database for both.) And this includes seamless windows to apps from TS or VDI. And Citrix and Quest both approach App-V in the same way (and both integrate better than VMware View integrates ThinApp). Quest vWorkspace integrates with Hyper-V via SCVMM for disk provisioning (and they use "real" Sysprep).
So between Quest & Citrix, they both have areas where they integrate well and areas where there's work to be done. But I certainly don't think that Citrix is very far ahead.
Moving on to VMware, they do a great job with View. View itself is easy to install and fairly well-integrated with the client VM-based mode of operation (called "View Local Mode.") But VMware doesn't integrate with single-published apps from the datacenter. (So you can only connect to complete remote desktops, not seamless apps.) And while VMware claims that View brokers connections to TS / Session Host sessions, you don't get the same experience. For example, connections to TS sessions are RDP-only (no PCoIP, which also means no iPad client support) and you don't get the ThinPrint components they licensed for View when connecting to Terminal Server. (And in fact you don't get any management of Terminal Server through View.) So I don't really consider that View supports TS.
And then there's the problem with VMware's ThinApp. It's amazing technology, but it's far from "integrated" with the rest of the VMware View suite.
So really everyone has integration issues.
The bottom line
So will the Quest/MokaFive deal impact Citrix & VMware? Probably not. Those who love Citrix love Citrix. Those who love VMware love VMware. And poor Quest definitely suffers from a mindshare problem with it comes to Virtual Desktops. Their products have always been technically strong (at least for datacenter-based desktops), but with both Citrix & VMware ratcheting up the "local VM" rhetoric over the past year, this was a big hole in Quest's offerings, and this MokaFive deal is a big help for them. (And we'll see how fast they can execute their integration roadmap to get some true integration.)
What do you think?