After making a big splash in the desktop virtualization fray over the past few years, Symantec has started to wobble over the past few months. Right now they're at a sort of fork (a chasm, if you will?) that could lead them down the path of great success or the path of "nice try." Fortunately Symantec Vision 2010 is taking place in Las Vegas this week, and I'll be there trying to figure out which outcome is most likely for the company.
As a quick recap, Symantec really hit the desktop space hard when they bought Altiris way back in 2007. Altiris had previously bought FSLogic (2004) and was starting to make headway with their application virtualization product called SVS.
Then in April 2008, Symantec acquired AppStream (which added streaming capabilities to the SVS app virtualization) and in August they acquired connection broker-maker nSuite. By late 2008 I had declared that Symantec was now "another major player in the VDI space."
They continued hard in 2009, announcing that they were OEMing RTO Virtual Profiles and working with Intel to develop new virtualization technologies for the desktop. (Gabe published a timeline of all this a few months ago.) I left SymantecManage Fusion 09 fairly excited and impressed with Symantec's chances in the desktop space. (We covered ManageFusion 09 on that week's Brian Madden TV.)
After all that momentum, 2010 is turning out to be a tough year for Symantec in the desktop virtualization space.
It started in January on the earnings call, when Symantec's CEO Enrique Salem talked about how the company was focusing their sales initiatives on security and storage. There wasn't a single mention of "desktop" or "endpoint."
Then in Feb Symantec suddenly stopped selling their Virtual Profiles product (which we later learned was because VMware bought RTO Software, as Symantec's profile virtualization product was an OEM version of RTO's product.)
In March, Gabe and I conducted our Geek Week where we installed and wrote about the five most popular VDI solutions on the market (based on a survey of BrianMadden.com readers). Symantec won a spot in the Top 5, although they elected not to participate in the Geek Week.
Symantec Vision 2010
So now what? Geek Week is just over, and I'm in Las Vegas all week attending Symantec Vision 2010. My goal at Vision is to figure out what the heck is going on with Symantec in the desktop virtualization space.
At the end of the day, Symantec has a great chance in this space in spite of the recent events. Their acquisition of Altiris combined with their other client security products puts Symantec directly (and deeply) in the place that Citrix and VMware fantasize about: the "traditional" desktop endpoint that still makes up 99%+ of the desktop market. If Symantec gets their act together and figures out how to leverage that into some virtualization plays, Symantec could potentially sneak in and take tens (if not hundreds) of millions of endpoints from Citrix and VMware.
So what do you think? Has Symantec jumped the desktop shark? Do they have a chance? Who should I talk to and what should I ask this week at Vision 2010?