In Citrix’s Q4 earnings call from last week (yeah, we listen to those), CEO Mark Templeton mentioned that as part of an overall objective to reduce the number of brands and make the remaining ones deeper, VDI in a Box would be put out to pasture. If you listen to the call, at 50:23 you’ll hear:
“Another example would be VDI-in-a-Box. We’re going to end-of-sale that product and it will be replaced by a simpler and more price competitive version for VDI that we have coming.”
VDI-in-a-Box has been rumored to be on the chopping block since Kaviza (the original company behind the product) was acquired back in May 2011. While many people lauded Citrix for netting a VDI product that was easy to install and operate, others thought that the acquisition might have been nothing more than an attempt to snuff out the competition. Many of us held out hope that there would ultimately be some blending of XenDesktop and VDI-in-a-Box, with the best elements of each creating a new VDI platform, but that never proved true.
Nevertheless, VDI-in-a-Box stuck around for four years, more often than not marketed as an SMB solution despite evidence that it worked well for much larger (though not very complex) scenarios. Citrix found that they couldn’t get out of the bind they put themselves in by maintaining two completely different VDI platforms with no technical migration path between them. Something had to give, and I finally saw the writing on the wall last August in an interview between TechTarget’s Bridget Botelho and then-new CTO Gunnar Berger. In the interview, Gunnar made this statement:
"Short term, there are various products we should invest in further, and the leaders here are in agreement. We are shoring up our engineering resources. And we don't want to give away our coach's playbook, but we are in the heavy investment phase now in places we may not have invested in before -- in strategies that we see as the future -- and de-investing in strategies that don't."
This has been a long time coming, so I can’t say I have any specific emotion. It was time to either re-commit to it or move on, and Citrix made a decision. Now they have to decide what will fill the void. Will there simply be a lower-end edition of XenDesktop (like XenDesktop Fundamentals) in addition to XenDesktop VDI, Enterprise, and Platinum? Maybe XenDesktop VDI fills that role all by itself. Will this somehow leverage WorkspacePOD, which Citrix announced at Summit last month? That seems like more of an RDSH-based solution than a VDI one, given that the descriptions I’ve seen are using Moonshot cartridges with Xeon processors. Can a WorkspacePOD built on Moonshot that uses VDI come even close to the price point of VDI-in-a-Box?
There’s no more information to go on right now, but by the sounds of things there will be a lot more information at Synergy. There are several interesting nuggets in that earnings call, so if you have a long commute, check it out.