Yesterday Parallels announced that they have acquired 2X software.
Who is Parallels?
Parallels is a virtualization software company with offerings that are similar to VMware. They have Mac-based client-focused solutions, including Parallels Containers (which is like VMware Fusion), Parallels Access (like GoToMyPC which Gabe wrote about in 2013), and a plugin for SCCM that lets you manage Mac OS X clients (which we also covered in 2013).
On the server side, Parallels was originally known for their Virtuozzo Containers, which is a kind of hybrid between RDSH session isolation and full virtualization. (We first wrote about this in 2007. The idea is you get more isolation than RDSH sessions, but with less overhead than full VMs.) There was a period several years ago where we had a lot of "Sessions versus Containers versus VMs" conversations at BriForum and on BrianMadden.com, though that's all kind of died off as VMs have become easier to manage. Containers is still huge in the hosting market, as many of those hosting providers' "virtual private server" offerings are based on Parallels Containers.
Parallels has vastly expanded their offerings for hosting providers over the past few years, as they now own Plesk (web site automation and customer control panels) as well as several other automation and cloud management tools. (Again, all targeted towards service providers.)
Who is 2X?
Years ago 2X was a relatively unknown software company with products that converted PCs into thin clients and a Terminal Server for Linux product.
Most people in our space first heard about 2X in 2005 when they acquired Claudio Rodrigues's company Terminal-Services.NET. At the time, Terminal-Services.NET had products that extended Microsoft Windows Terminal Services' built-in functionality by adding application publishing, seamless windows, load balancing, and multi-server management. (Think of them like a "Citrix-lite".)
Since then 2X has continued to sell add-on products for RDSH, most recently the 2X Remote Application Server (2X RAS) which combines VDI & RDSH application management, advanced load balancing, reporting, and monitoring. (So now they're like a "Citrix XenApp Lite.") They've found a nice little niche for themselves for customers who want more features than what Microsoft provides out of the box without the complexity and expense of a full platform product like Citrix XenApp or VMware Horizon.
More recently, 2X also released an MDM product, again a lower-end, basic product that gives companies a low-cost option for getting into MDM.
Parallels + 2X = ?
Parallels president Jack Zubarev said that they see 2X's products complementing Parallels Access and Parallels Desktop. (So that's the part of Parallels that's like VMware Fusion and GoToMyPC.) This makes sense, as I can imagine Parallels using 2X's technology to extend published applications out from existing Parallels environments, whether it's from centrally-located VMs or for users who want to connect to single applications back on their own desktops. They could also use 2X's monitoring and management capabilities to enhance the management of Parallels Desktop environments in corporate environments. I could also even see using 2X's technology in their cloud offerings to easily allow service providers to setup DaaS or SaaS-like offerings based on Windows desktops and applications.
At the end of the day, Citrix and VMware have nothing to fear about Parallels taking over the world anytime soon, but both Parallels and 2X have been around for a long time, and the two companies' technologies truly are complementary, so it's nice to see the two of them together. I always have a soft spot for the lesser-known companies who build solid products, so this acquisition makes a lot of sense. Hopefully we'll see the fruits of it soon.