Is is time for VMware to enter the terminal server / application virtualization market?

One of my impressions from attending Citrix iForum The App Delivery Expo, presented by Citrix last week was that Citrix launched an all-out competitive war against VMware.

One of my impressions from attending Citrix iForum The App Delivery Expo, presented by Citrix last week was that Citrix launched an all-out competitive war against VMware. Citrix offers server-based computing solutions for multiple-user terminal server environments (Citrix Presentation Server) and for single-user VDI environments (Citrix XenDesktop). They also (thanks to the XenSource acquisition) offer the management of the underlying virtualization platform that's increasingly used to run all this stuff.

In an instant, Citrix went from viewing VMware as a strategic partner to viewing them as Enemy #1. Where does that leave VMware? Let's imagine, if only for a moment even, that Citrix evolves the XenSource virtualization platform to be a hard-core competitor to VMware at multiple levels. Where does that leave VMware?

Now that Citrix called out VMware's name, is it time for VMware to fight back and start to go after some of the market that Citrix owns? Is this even feasible? Maybe instead of focusing purely on the virtualization platform, VMware can grow into the application space as well?

Let me give an example. You may recall that I've written in the past about how much I like Provision Network's Virtual Access Suite. I like it because Provision combines TS-based and VDI-based SBC into a single product, and they treat Windows XP / Vista VDI instances as nothing more than managed pools of single-user Terminal Servers.

What if VMware took that approach, but in reverse? They already have (or are building) an end-to-end solution for VDI. Why not extend this solution into the Terminal Server space? Just like Provision views VDI instances as single-user Terminal Servers, why couldn't VMware view Terminal Servers as multi-user VDI instances?

If VMware decided to do this, they'd have a "build or buy" decision to make. VMware recently bought Propero and are trying to leverage that technology into a comprehensive VDI product. What if VMware extended Propero so that it could broker connections to Terminal Servers too?

Of course everyone reading this knows that Terminal Services-based application delivery solutions are a bit more complex than a connection broker. You need application-level publishing, seamless windows, performance enhancements to RDP, connection load balancing, secure tunnels, etc, etc.

In that case, what if VMware bought someone like Provision or Ericom or HOBsoft or one of these other Terminal Server add-on products? There are some really kick-ass products out there from these smaller companies. But their main challenge is that they're made by small companies that most people have never heard of, so people are afraid of support and nervous to buy into something from a company that may or may not be around next year.

VMware + [some other app delivery company] could be pretty slick. Heck, while they're at it, they might as well buy someone like ThinStall or InstallFree and go nuts.

Who knows whether VMware really wants to do this, and where they really see the industry going. But if they did want to go after Citrix, they could do it pretty easily. Heck, with a market cap of SIX TIMES Citrix ($46B for VMware versus $7B for Citrix), VMware could just buy Citrix and be done with it. (Man, would that be the ultimate "F You" or what?")

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A really good thought! Sometimes I think someone should kick ctx in theit a.... ;-)
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Could you explain your anger? Because now it just sounds like success-envy...
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Brian,

"Heck, with a market cap of SIX TIMES Citrix ($46B for VMware versus $7B for Citrix), VMware could just buy Citrix and be done with it. (Man, would that be the ultimate "F You" or what?")"

Let me give this a try: Microsoft has a market cap of SEVEN TIMES vmware (still 3.5x if you include EMC), Microsoft could just buy vmware and be done with it (talking about F You)

Not even doing the Microsoft v Citrix calculation.

Not sure if this logic works.... ;-)
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I think MS could definitely afford to buy VMware if they wanted to, but I think that there would be regulatory hurdles that would prevent the deal from going through.
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I think the same could be said for a VMware/Citrix merger.

As for VMware doing application virtualization, based on my experiences, they can't even get server virtualization right. Why would I trust them to get applications right????
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One of Propero's selling points was that it could broker seamless published terminal server applications. Unless VMW took out functionality when they aqquired Propero they are already in this space.
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Citrix should buy Thinstall or InstallFree as their implementation is way behind everyone else (including the 5000 new startups) and from what I've heard, it isn't going to get any better anytime soon. The next release is suppose to include intra-isolation support but no support for services.

Citrix should also look at buying Marathon. That technology is awesome and if Citrix purchased them (to make it a XenServer exclusive) it could be key differentiator between ESX and XenServer.

Joe
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And speaking of Marathon and Citrix...

http://www.marketwire.com/mw/release.do?id=786332
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That's correct, this is where Propero started, VDI came later. So they already have this functionality
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All Propero has is a bunch of open source garbage that isn't worth crap.
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would be a lethal blow to Citrix.
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VMware acquired them...portions open source but there was some xlnt functionality and much better app isolation. A bit extreme...or do you think VMware bought a pig in a poke?
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and kick in the ass to VMware
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All the terminal services functionality was ripped out as it hardly worked and what VMware was left with was the task to rewrite the whole thing from scratch in the form of VDM which as I'm told is so basic and a pig of a java-based service
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You said it! They bought exactly that! They had to rewrite the whole thing from scratch. And now that they've done it, VDM's release date, which was slated for December, has been postponed to early next year. Much better app isolation? Are you saying Propero had app isolation? You're out of your mind.
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I think Vmware's Jimmy Chen ought to be fired. He missed the boat and made very bad decisions. Instead of owning the desktop space, he owns a POS.
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Both VMware and Citrix need a kick in the ass - both have had some kind of monopoly, albeit Citrix is like the baby in the plastic bubble - Microsoft being the plastic bubble. Lets see how resistant the baby is when Microsoft takes the insulation away and releases the next Terminal Server version.
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Unfortunately i didnt attent iforum, as was working (DOHHH),, but can someone answer this for me. My boss is in a upbeat tempo after iformum, about XEN. IN my previous workings with XEN (3mons) ago, i personally did not see the super value in XEN. Vmware is big/bloated, but it does the job VERYYYY well. Vi3, has some very interesting performance value, that i just didnt see with XEN. Does anyone have any comparisons?..
An example, we are on our 3rd 700+ User Citrix environment using Vmware ESX. And are able to squeeze 20+ users on 4VM's.
I realize that the numbers sound low, but these are very Heavy Citrix users, in which 20 was MAX on the SAME physical server. (ie 20 users use 3.4+gB ram per box). And performance is good. The ESX servers with 2x quad cores, 16gb ram, are easily supporting 5CTX servers. (we only put 4 per customer demand).
I dont know XEN's Capabilities, can someone share a light on that..

And also, with XEN+Citrix= a cool combo- YET not reputation, for scability or expandibility. Maybe i am just not seeing what others see, maybe i am in need of more explanation`
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Ask your boss to give you the free XenServer CD that was in his backpack. Try it out for yourself and see if you like it!
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And I'll bet he'll be able to host twice as many VMs on VMware compared to XEN.
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with lower performance and higher licensing costs, yes I guess.
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Not to mention that only a portion of VMeare is actually publicly held. The majority of VMware is owned/held by EMC.
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the biggest slap to both Citrix and VMware would be for Microsoft to snap up Provision. They already support virtual server, terminal server, softgrid, and working on SCVMM... kabooom.....
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Didn't VMware also go and buy Dunes? from what I can remember from a post at Alessandro's Virtulization.info all of a sudden the V-DO product vanished from their web site.

So has Propero been thrown out in the skip to be replaced by Dunes version?
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Worse still MS could buy one to these app virtualization vendors, screw it up like Softgrid and then produice nothing for 5 years while they try to stuff Systems Center down our throats.
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From what I've seen, Xen performance and scalability actually BEATS VMWare. But VMWare has it beat by a mile in terms of mgmt and bells and whistles. That's the gap that Citrix will be working on imo...
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What a piece of unrealiable junk with so many limitations. Simply file and registry re-direction not real virtualization
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If they have a strategy (big if) for VDI, they haven't articulated it. They came out with this big hoopla and then nothing, kind of like Mark T with XenDesktop. And it's not because they have this super secret surprise for everyone, it's becasue the VDI team doesn't have the vision.
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chaos, chaos in the VDI group. Reorg in the works...
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I hear the slappin' is a comin' for both...
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Why do you think Thinstall is junk? Can you explain why you think Thinstall is just File and Registry re-direction?
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Package a thinstall application, run it on x32 bit then move it to x64, and see how well it works. Point is that the depth of the virtualization is just not there. That said, I stil think they are way ahead in their thinking vs softgrid. Also ask Thinstall how to get virtualized apps how to talk to each other....
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Well, don’t know. But I guess it's time for software vendors to understand that we all are now into that. I am thinking that the entire community, both the users *and* the vendors should think about "Where does that leave us?" (rephrasing your words "Where does that leave VMware?"). What do we need to gain maximum effect from it? Virtualization is becoming vital to everyone's business today. Some have only started to think about moving a part of business onto VDI rails some are in transitions whereas some have already implemented virtualization schemes within their enterprises. The core thing we should think about is that everyone's involved. We shouldn't just sit and wait in vain but we rather have to make our estimates and think about 'how could all this influence my business now'. Today. If we start this tomorrow it'll be too late when tomorrow comes. Think of it. Who could have predicted Citrix's buying XEN? Oh, sure Brian we don't take you into consideration 'cause you'd predicted it https://www.brianmadden.com/content/article/Should-Citrix-buy-a-hypervisor a weak before the deal http://citrix.com/English/NE/news/news.asp?newsID=680808 was done. But today it's even not a tendency. It's a fact. EMC is involved, Citrix now involved, Microsoft involved with its Viridian and even more look which plans they have http://windows7news.com/2007/03/25/windows-7-to-include-hypervisor/ for Windows Seven which is slated to ship around 2010. According to Gartner analyst http://money.cnn.com/news/newsfeeds/articles/newstex/IBD-0001-20016168.htm "Microsoft's entry will help the virtualization market grow. The product has penetrated only 6% of its market" with today's "80% to 90% market share" according to corresponding estimations. You never know if it become a thing like WinFS http://www.winsupersite.com/faq/windows_7.asp or we definitely will see it in new version of Windows and if will be axed like it was with Vista http://www.microsoft-watch.com/content/operating_systems/winfs_axed_from_longhorn_client_and_server.html and Windows Server 2008 or survive http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/08/31/avalon_winfs_decoupled/ like it happened to Windows Presentation Foundation previously known as codename Avalon or Silverlight http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/asp.net/bb187358.aspxm , WPF/E http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2005/sep05/09-13PDC05Day1PR.mspx of ASP.NET AJAX http://blogs.msdn.com/usisvde/archive/2007/01/23/asp-net-ajax-1-0-formerly-code-named-atlas-released.aspx . But the main point here is that citing your words "even if you don’t believe in it today, the concept of delivering a desktop as a service is going to continue to grow".

The thin ice here is that there's still a lack of feedback from software vendors that target desktop management. I mean that I know just a couple of vendors that offer complete and fully integrated solutions capable of working with virtualized stuff. However, I might say that even today the phrase that "The problem is that if you want to do this right now, you need products from several different vendors." if I understand its meaning properly requires revising as it's not correct anymore. For example, in our company we are using Scriptlogic's Desktop Authority and with this desktop management tool we are able to manage all of our environments be it our basic physical environment, or Presentation Server http://www.scriptlogic.com/Terminal_Server.asp . The tool also supports configuring virtualized (VMWare) environments. So, you see, even today it's already possible to configure a virtual environment in the same way we do a physical one. You know all this folder redirection stuff, drive mapping. Works great for me if you're interested, helps with profile corruption problems and so on.
By the way on that point Scriptlogic has also a very nice doc http://www.scriptlogic.com/whitepapers/Virtualizing-the-Desktop-with-ScriptLogic-Desktop-Authority.pdf paper that discusses the problem in general, various
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. ;continuing... the original post has been cut off by engine. Works great for me if you're interested, helps with profile corruption problems and so on.
By the way on that point Scriptlogic has also a very nice doc paper that discusses the problem in general, various virtualization approaches available today and its vision of the solution to the problem. While it obviously contains some vendor specific information, the key point is that the paper is mostly about the hypervisor technology challenges and solutions and it doesn't go much deep into details of concrete vendor solution and worth reading.

So for today when players such as Microsoft and Scriptlogic understand technology market expectations and needs, when both companies are responsive to community and show their interest in virtualization by providing us with new features I expect others to understand the importance of virtualization thus paving the way for the further development of industry.

By the way, it looks like there can be a bug existing in authentication system. If you register with the password more than 10 symbols long, site will not allow you to log it as it cuts down the length to less or equal to 10 symbols without any notification. If however, you will request site to retrieve your password, the ASP code overflows and returns an error.
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