Should Citrix buy a hypervisor?

Now that Citrix is focusing on end-to-end application delivery, people have been speculating / asking whether Citrix needs to get into the hypervisor market.

Now that Citrix is focusing on end-to-end application delivery, people have been speculating / asking whether Citrix needs to get into the hypervisor market. (And when people ask “Should Citrix get into the hypervisor market,” that’s really code for “Should Citrix buy a hypervisor?”) In fact when we were at Citrix iForum in Edinburgh, Scotland this past June, we had multiple conversations with people (both Citrix employees and others) about whether Citrix should own a hypervisor.

(A hypervisor, for those who don’t know, is a software virtualization engine. It puts the “VM” in “VMware.” It’s what allows multiple virtual hardware machines to simultaneously run on a single physical system. It’s what Microsoft is building into Windows Server 2008 to allow multiple server VMs to run at once.)

There’s a rumor that Citrix is going to buy virtualization vendor XenSource for a very large amount of money—perhaps as high as $500M. In this article, we’ll look at why Citrix would want to do this, what it would mean for them, and what it might mean for their existing relationships with Microsoft and VMware.

Why would Citrix want to own a hypervisor?

Everyone knows that Citrix has grown from a pure server-based computing company into an application delivery company. Virtual desktop delivery (whether you call it VDI, xDI, or VCC) is a big part of that.

Citrix released Citrix Desktop Server (CDS) v1.0 this past April. Even though it was a brand-new product in terms of SKU, CDS shares a lot of code with Presentation Server. At iForum Edinburgh this past June, Citrix publicly announced some goals for future versions of CDS; specifically, the ability to connect to Windows desktop VMs directly via the ICA protocol and the ability to manage pools of Desktop VMs as if they were single-user Presentation Servers.

This VDI/xDI/VCC thing is hot. Even if you don’t believe in it today, the concept of delivering a desktop as a service is going to continue to grow. (In fact, many people are now realizing that some form of this might soon replace all desktops in a corporation—-not just the “special case” scenarios that are popular today.)

The problem is that if you want to do this right now, you need products from several different vendors. Some vendors (such as Virtual Iron and Provision Networks) have partnered to offer single-SKU end-to-end desktop delivery solutions that combine the virtualization, desktop brokering, and server-based computing management into a single platform. The problem with these non-Citrix solutions is that remote access to the desktop VM is provided via Microsoft’s RDP protocol, and the reality is that in today’s world, RDP does not perform nearly as well as ICA in WAN environments. The SpeedScreen technologies, the compression, and the graphical performance of Citrix Presentation Server in just flat out blow away RDP across WAN links. (In reality, the Provision / Virtual Iron solution is a “local network” solution only.)

Citrix sees the value of delivering desktops. They have / will have this great ICA / Presentation Server-based product for doing so called “Desktop Server.” They have a way to manage images with Ardence. They can track performance with EdgeSight. They can stream applications into the desktop with the application streaming capabilities of Presentation Server. Citrix has a complete solution except for one thing: a hypervisor.

The official line from Citrix about this is that they’re “hypervisor agnostic.” But this is more of a marketing spin phrase of convenience as opposed to a specific intentional move from Citrix.

But should Citrix be hypervisor agnostic? Remember that Citrix calls Desktop Server a “DDI” solution, which they define as a solution can be used to deliver three types of desktops: multi-user (Terminal Server + Presentation Server), blades, and VMs. This is all well and good, but the reality is that as server power increases, people are not using blades for desktop delivery (except in extremely specific circumstances). Citrix already owns the multi-user shared desktop with Presentation Server. So why not also own the whole solution stack in the VM desktop space? Citrix is currently hypervisor agnostic because they don’t own a hypervisor.

Now imagine if Citrix did own a hypervisor. They could sell a single product that would truly deliver desktops to users no matter where they were. The customer would only have to provide their own Windows images to make this all happen—Citrix could handle the rest. (And again, Citrix components like Ardence could greatly simplify this process.) Thinking like this, it’s easy to see why Citrix would want to own a hypervisor too.

Fine, so Citrix wants a hypervisor. Now what?

If Citrix wants a hypervisor, they could build their own from scratch, they could OEM license someone else’s, or they could buy someone. Building their own is not really realistic in today’s world. Licensing one might lead to long-term risk. (Just look at the risk they took when they had to renew the Microsoft Terminal Server source code agreement.) That leaves “buy one” as the only viable option. And as a company doing over $1.3B a year in sales with a market cap pushing $7B, Citrix can certainly afford it.

So that leads us to “which one?” The two that come to mind immediately are XenSource and Virtual Iron.

Citrix tried to make a strategic investment in Virtual Iron. They wanted to offer them a bunch of money, and in return they asked Virtual Iron to work exclusively with them in the desktop delivery space. Virtual Iron refused. Citrix went back to them with more money in an attempt to buy Virtual Iron outright. Again, they refused.

So Citrix moved on to XenSource. XenSource is an interesting company. There is an open source hypervisor on the market called “Xen.” XenSource is a commercial company that was formed to enhance Xen (kind of like how SuSe and Red Hat enhance the open source Linux for commercial gain). XenSource is particularly interesting because Xen and Microsoft have a fairly solid relationship. In fact “Mike Nell, product unit manager for Microsoft's virtualization technologies...pointed out that Microsoft Research in the United Kingdom contributed to the development of the Xen hypervisor technology, which was initially a project at the University Of Cambridge's Computer Laboratory.” (source: eweek)

Over the past few years Microsoft and Xen have collaborated on a few more occasions.  Microsoft engineers helped to enhance the Xen hypervisor.  Xen licensed the VHD virtual hard disk format from Microsoft not too long ago, and most recently Microsoft and Xen announced an agreement to enable Xen-enabled Linux guest VMs to run on Viridian servers with the full support of Microsoft tech support.

Ian Pratt--the founder of XenSource--is the inventor and project lead for Xen. So it’s conceivable that Citrix could acquire Xen and not piss off Microsoft. (In the short term at least.)

Long term, this could be tricky for Citrix. First of all, you gotta figure that it’s going to take Citrix a few years to really integrate that into CDS. But during this time, Microsoft will continue to develop their own hypervisor (“Viridian”). So when Citrix gets dialed in with XenSource, will that even still be relevant if Microsoft has a super hypervisor built-in? Will people still want/need a Citrix hypervisor? Would there be value in that? If so, what?

But more importantly, imagine how strategically important Viridian will be to Microsoft? Even though Microsoft and XenSource are friends now, what do you think will happen as soon as Viridian is released? All of these "partner" hypervisors will becoming "competing" hypervisors overnight. It will be "kill, or be killed." (After all, this is not the same thing as Citrix Presentation Server adding value to an obscure Windows Server feature. This will be about citrix replacing a key strategic Windows Server feature.) 

With risks like this, why is Citrix even looking to buy a hypervisor? And why are they looking to spend so much money on a company that only has a few million dollars in sales?

First of all, Citrix probably still feels burned that they didn’t get to by Softricity.

Second, there is always value in owning the whole stack. The problem with Microsoft developing a hypervisor is that Citrix couldn’t control when / if certain features came out and how they would integrate with the other Citrix components.

A final complexity to this whole thing is around Citrix’s systems management story. Citrix has traditionally been very careful to avoid getting into the systems management space. But now that they have streaming application delivery and EdgeSight, if they add a hypervisor and some management tools, they might be treading into new territory there too.

An interesting side note to this whole conversation is VMware. Citrix has explicitly named them as a competitor in recent months, and if this deal goes through, it would absolutely square the two off as real competitors. (Throw a little Cisco investment into VMware and you have some real competition!)

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from a stratistic standpoint, it would be a good deal, owning the whole stack.

the big plus is that citrix can own the whole stack and there are a lot of citrix customers around the world which could easily stay with citrix for app streaming,desktop streaming, hypervisoring etc.

but to be honest i think is that citrix should put more effort in building more quality for all the citrix patches and rollup packages , easier upgrades etc. and do more about all the acquisition integration

in the field there is still to much wrong with rollup packs and microsoft updates that affect citrix etc, where they told us that this would be history with the microsoft/citrix partnership.

if i look at the ardence roadmap there should come a version 4.5 in these months, i dont see this happen.

in europe citrix have to ask distributors or partners to tell something about ardence for other customers/partners, what is going on here ?

look at the app streaming, its really a version 0.2 and softricity is at version 4.0.

same will happen with the hypervisor, before they are where they should be, we are talking about years. and all the other vendors wont lay down to wait for citrix.

is see citrix more like microsoft some years ago, where is was all about getting software and applications released at certain time (time boxing), citrix is doing this now without "good testing" ?. with longhorn you see that microsoft is going for quality. i know its about money etc to realise it on time to get already some markert share, but at the end customers are looking for quality.

 

 

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Hasn't Citrix been saying that VDI is a very niche proposition and that CSP can handle 80-90% of use cases?
I guess they we LYING!!!!!!!!

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I don't think that's what citrix is saying. Since last iForum, they've been talking about desktop delivery as a separate new market and product line in addition to presentation server. What I heard them say is that VDI is only a part of the solution - you can virtualize a desktop on a VM in the datacenter, but you need a bunch of other stuff in the stack to get a good enough experience, security, etc to really meet corporate needs.

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$500M for a product that is missing all the key features, (see Xensource release 4 beta) an open source project that is not really managed as an open source community like linux and less than $5M in revenue!  Good for the Xensource investors and management team.  This may be the biggest heist since Brinks!

 

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IMHO, a hypervisor purchase would be throwing money after the latest industry buzz that doesn't yield much of anything for company profits.  I'll call it Sequoia Part Deux!

Shawn 

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I think there is some sense in it from Citrix Management point of view, but not at $500M.  Maybe they can license the technology until they go out of business? (Oh, did I say that out loud?)

With multiple vendors out there offering hypervisors, it isn't like Citrix is going to be "locked out".  Now if you told me that they have their eye on VMWare (should they get spun out as a public company again) I might be impressed.   A XenSource purchase would not be good for the industry nor for Citrix Customers.  Especially if Citrix keeps up the practice of "bundling" these technologies.  Eventually Citrix will need to break out the technologies better to let customers buy just what they need.  But how long before we get to that point?

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I think that it would be a tremendous advantage for Citrix to own the whole stack. The key however is that this whole stack is indeed a whole not just a set of purchased technologies held together by oddly named product packs.
Take application streaming for example. Citrix was yelling Tarpon way before Microsoft assimilated Softgrid. If they had been earlier with a very decent product they might have had the Edge (as they do in Terminal Server environments). Going for a hypervisor like XenSource at the 500M price range would bring them in the same predicament again.

So, it would be have been a great idea, IF they had been earlier (didn't Citrix had a chance to buy VMware in the early days?).
I guess Citrix needs more visionaries with balls... (no offense to Mark ;) )

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I'm one of the Citrix guys that has said this, but it's all about timing and today vs. the future.  TODAY (in mid-2007), the VMware VDI concept IS niche, in my opinion.  From a Citrix perspective, the perception of what a virtual desktop is has too often excluded Terminal Services-based approaches.  A centrally-hosted VM running XP or Vista (how VMware defines VDI) is just one option when you are thinking of doing desktop virtualization.  Terminal Services-based approaches (i.e. Citrix Presentation Server) have supported multi-user "virtual desktops" for 10 years or more.

From the Citrix point of view, Terminal Services-based approaches and hosted VM approaches are both "good" but at vastly different levels of maturity today.  Our products are positioned and packaged to allow customers to choose the right approaches for them, mixing and matching TS and hosted VM virtual desktops (and Blade PC's) as they need to.  We do believe that TODAY the Terminal Services-based approach is the best thing going for 80%+ of the cases where customers are inquiring about virtual desktops today.  In the future as hosted VM solutions get better (i.e. Citrix integrates Ardence vDisks into our solution, completes the port of ICA to XP/Vista, etc.) this model becomes much more viable.  Still, however, we believe that everyone looking at virtualized desktops should consider Terminal Services-based approaches.  It's been proven far longer than the hosted VM approach and will continue to offer the best TCO and performance for some time.

This should not be read to mean that we aren't keenly interested in building out our capabilities to provide better hosted VM-based virtual desktops--our investment in Ardence, Desktop Server (i.e. PortICA), and other things is a clear signal of our interests here.

Bill Carovano, Director of Technical Marketing for Citrix

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[quote]The problem with these non-Citrix solutions is that remote access to the desktop VM is provided via Microsoft’s RDP protocol, and the reality is that in today’s world, RDP does not perform nearly as well as ICA in WAN environments. The SpeedScreen technologies, the compression, and the graphical performance of Citrix Presentation Server in just flat out blow away RDP across WAN links. (In reality, the Provision / Virtual Iron solution is a “local network” solution only.)[/quote]

While I do agree that ICA is better than RDP over a WAN, I wouldn't go so far as to say that ICA is the only plausible protocol over a WAN...  Many companies are using pure RDP for VDI and pure-TS environments.  I wouldn't dog RDP as being a LAN protocol only.

Shawn 

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Man I love RDP. But on a connection with like 200ms and a limited pipe, is it a local experience? No way. ICA is though. (I say this because I'm connected via RDP almost all day every day to our servers for admin. It's usable. But local-feeling? Not quite.)
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I don't disagree that RDP doesn't "feel local" on 200+ms with limited bandwidth.  But that's a far cry from labeling it LAN-only technology.  Now if the argument was around WWAN, that's a different story.  But many WAN environments are no where near 200+ms of latency.
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I can't help feeling that the cost is way to high, especially when this morning I have just seen the post by Alessandro of the latest features coming out of VMware 3.1.0? Why would you potentially start a conflict with MS and VMware by buying Xen? Sure it might give you "the stack" but at what cost to your business in non-monetary terms?

VMware ESX Server 3.1.0 / VirtualCenter 2.1.0 features list - Updated with full details

Tuesday, August 07, 2007   |   0 Comments

With maximum secrecy VMware is preparing next minor version of its flagship platform: VMware Infrastructure 3.1.

Despite numbering this release will bring on the table remarkable features to further increase the gap between virtualization leader and its competitors.

virtualization.info has discovered the whole feature set:

  • Solid State Drive (SSD) boot support
    As initially discovered last month, VMware will make available a special version of ESX Server (mentioned with terms like ESX Lite and Embedded ESX) for OEM vendors, to be installed into bootable Solid State storage devices (flash drives, etc.). This option will allow creation of ESX Server hardware appliances for easy jumpstart, granting smaller form-factors and improved reliability.
    Dell, IBM and possibly other vendors will offer this option at announcement time in Q3 2007.
  • DMotion
    Unofficially introduced with ESX Server 3.0.1, in its first version DMotion is a special VMotion operation only capable of moving running virtual machines from an ESX Server 2.5.x host to a new ESX Server 3.x., without shared SAN LUN mandatory requirement.
    In ESX Server 3.1 this capability will be extended, allowing hot migration of running virtual machines between ESX 3.1 hosts through the Ethernet cable.
  • Patch management system for host and virtual machines (UpdateManager)
    ESX Server 3.1 will finally introduce an automated patch management system called UpdateManager. This solution will be able to update both host itself and virtual machines (both Microsoft Windows and Red Hat Enterprise Linux).
    UpdateManager will feature security backup before patching and automated rollback if something goes wrong.
  • VMware Consolidate Backup (VCB) and VMware Converter integration
    VirtualCenter 2.1 will now allow restoring VCB images with an integrated version of VMware Converter.
  • Server consolidation advisor
    VirtualCenter 2.1 will expose a server consolidation assistant able to analyze which physical machines should be converted in virtual ones, and where to move existing VMs among available hosts.
    (note that with this feature VMware is further extending competition with PlateSpin, covering both features with PowerRecon and PowerConvert)
  • Guest OS disaster recovery capability
    VirtualCenter 2.1 will be able to recognize a failure inside a virtual machine and restart it through VMware HA module.
  • Power saving capability (Distributed Power Management)
    VirtualCenter 2.1 will introduce a new resources utilization analysis feature, able to verify when a physical host can be powered off, VMotion-ing its virtual machines on other hosts without impacting performances.
  • Support for Cisco Discovery Protocol (CDP)
    VirtualCenter 2.1 will be able to recognize and use CDP to discover physical and virtual network topologies.
    It stays unconfirmed if ESX Server 3.1 will already expose new virtual network architecture,
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Thanks for sharing with us the details Bill.  I work for a Citrix Plat and VMware VAC in the NE.  I don't quite agree with your opinion.  We've been selling CPS (and its predecessors) for a long time, and have seen very very few customers adopt CPS/MetaFrame as an enterprise solution.  In fact it's no secrect that although you have 160,000+ customers, the penetration into those customers doesn't exceed 10%, making CPS effectively a niche and tactical solution.  We've seen some attempts in the past from Citrix to position CPS/MF as an enterprise desktop management solution, but those have largely failed.  Today I see many of my customers in healthcare, banking, insurance etc. who've deployed Citrix in the past for specific use case scenarios, now look at AND plan to deploy VDI in massive numbers.  We see large RFI/RFPs on a weekly basis for tens of thousands of users.  VDI can be and is an alternative to terminal services.  I agree that there are still some technical gaps here and there to plug, but in general the technology is available, ready and disruptive.  More importantly it gives users what they want (familiarity, control etc.) and CIOs what they demand (simplicity, manageability, lower TCO, security - and happy customers/users).  If you don't believe that CPS is a niche solution, then this may help:  I've read on Citrix.com that CPS is used by 10 million workers, and Citrix claims 160,000 customers.  Simple division tells us that's 62.5 workers per customer - a far cry from being anything but a tactical, niche solution.

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this would be great from a VMware point of view! MS is delaying almost all the relevant hypervisor features in Windows 2008 SRV, and if Citrix would buy Xen it would mean the elimination of the last major virtualization competitor. We all know Citrix's track record for aqcuisitions....they pretty much stink....Sequoia anyone ??

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Sequoia is one acquistion.  How about ExpertCity?  How about the acquistion of NetScaler?  WANScaler?  These all seem to be doing pretty well. . .doubling revenues every year.

Why don't you stick to looking at code rather than trying to make evaluations of business decisions!

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....and did they improve "vanilla" citrix products? face it, not one acquisition improved the "core"  product. Nice addons nothing more. These products would've had the same performance in business terms without the ownership of Citrix.  Softgrid, powerfuse or even appsense would have really helped improving the PS product.

When Xen becomes part of citrix it will be another bad acquisition. Xen technology is miles behind compared to vmware just like PS with it's crappy load balancing and aged management tooling.  Why not use VMware technology under oem license?

Regarding the code comment.....never mind you obvious have no clue.

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To clarify: the 10 million user figure you've seen is the number of CPS users (of the 60 million total CPS users, by Citrix estimates) that use it as "virtual desktop" (aka "published desktop") running on top of TS.  A large number of these implementations are very strategic to our customers--which vary from small businesses to large corporations and government organizations.

 I think you'll agree that hosted VM approaches today do not have anywhere near this install base.  I do believe that we'll see the hosted VM approach gain traction and be used more widely, and I'm proud to work for one of the companies that I believe will help make it happen.  Today, however, an organization looking and doing this needs to keep in mind several things about the hosted VM approach

- Server scalability with hosted VM's is significantly less than with TS.  (x64 has dramatically increased TS server scalability)

- Cost of servers and storage is significantly higher with hosted VM's than with Terminal Services (technologies like Ardence coupled with a well-designed application delivery approach can help corral storage costs)

- Display protocols for hosted VM approaches are not as mature and high-performance as with Terminal Services (PortICA will help here)

- The number of instances of Windows you need to administer, patch, manage, etc. in a hosted VM approach is far higher than with TS

We see a lot of the same RFI's/RFP's for virtual desktops as well, and are finding that for many of them, Terminal Services is a great platform.  Customers doing their due diligence are finding that heavy use of TS in virtual desktop deployments (mixed with hosted VM's where it is needed) makes a lot of sense.  We're finding that customers don't want the "one size fits all" solution, but instead want to use a mix of TS and hosted VM's.  To reiterate what I stated before--both approaches are "good" but at very different levels of maturity today.

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You two are posting as GUEST, meanwhile you seem to know each other :) Otherwise, how would GUEST1 recommend to GUEST2 that he "sticks to looking at code"?  And what makes GUEST1 better positioned to assess business decisions? LOL!!!

Folks who post as GUEST should be coined, well, app delivery insurgents.  They come out of their virtual holes, press a button, blow some smoke, and retreat like cowards. 

 

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While I did poke the original jab at a Xen purchase being a bad idea and alluded to Seqoia, I am neither Guest or Guest2.  Perhaps a Celebrity Deathmatch between Guest and Guest2 would be interesting...
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A Geek wrestling event at briForum to complement GeekOut?
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Nice try with the clarification.  The 60 million CPS license estimate, I assume that's "sold" - but how many are really deployed?  And how many are still in use (i.e. customer bought it as a stop gap until they did something else)?  We've heard the rumors for example about big government buys in the past that aren't even 20% deployed.  Even if we gave it to you and agreed that all 60M are deployed, then that would mean 375 workers per customer - not deep.  I have a few customers that bought into CLPs and ELAs to get better price/license but never ended up deploying the whole lot.

- Server scalability: yes, more consolidation on TS.  But with quad cores we can get close.  Or even better with Virtuozzo I can get as many!  And the hardware is getting cheap.  And we all agree that capex is a small part of the TCO.
- Cost of servers/storage: that's getting cheap to.  But I can use nLite or vLite to create a small image of XP or Vista (1GB or less).  I can also use ImageManager from Neoware. I hear Provision Networks is working on something dynamite.
- Display protocols: I don't see many branch offices with connections higher than 200ms.  Ok for some apps, ICA does a better job with graphics.  But there's Teradici.  There's HP RGS.  There's Wyse multimedia redirection.  And isn't Provision Networks doing that too?
- Number of Windows instances: see bullet #2 above.

I say Citrix has a bit of a predicament.  Are you seeing the #8 yet?
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or they don't win anything by spoiling 5 minutes on registering .

 

And i don't know the guy/girl posting as guest 2

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The one thing that everyone seems to forget is MS is their biggest partner.  Notice the virtual appliances that are available now?  There is a reason they are deployed on MSVS, not XEN or VMWare.  Come on guys, think it through...

Several Citrix solutions (CPS, CES, CPM, DDI/CDS) run on any of the available hypervisors as long as they can host a MS guest OS.  They would gain nothing by aquiring a hypervisor company. 

 

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I'll build the ring.  Square or octagon?
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That's kind of the point of buying Xen, as opposed to the others.  They have a fairly tight relationship with Microsoft, including licensing the VHD files and interoperability between the two platforms.  I don't know if it works today, but maybe the EVA's will run on XenSource boxes that support the VHD files?

As I see it, it's more of an opportunity to be able to provide a turnkey solution.  The price tag is pretty high for that, I'll agree, especially for a company that doesn't have revenues that would preclude a $500M purchase, but if Citrix sees a lot of value in that, then maybe they'll do it.  Who knows...they may have some other plan, too...something that'll "change the world" (not that any of us haven't heard that before).

Or it could be a bad rumor...but it's still a good conversation to be having.  It's this kind of thing that spurs the community on.  It'll be interesting to wait and see.

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I hear what you're saying, but think of what has happened in the last two years or so.  Netscaler, WANscaler, Edgesight, Ardence, and ThinGenius.  Each of these solutions addressed a specific pain point that serveral customers were requesting.  They also provided a great overall solution to offer customers as a whole or in pieces depending on what they already owned within their infrastructure.  When I think of them purchasing a hypervisor, it doesn't make business sense.  I do think it would be cool from a technical perspective, but ever since the .com bust, that doesn't cut it anymore.

Just my 2 cents...

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http://www.computerworld.com.au/index.php/id;1053855166

"  Interesting side note

What’s interesting is that Xen, which has been aiming for Linux kernel inclusion for nearly two years has not become part of the Linux kernel. KVM, which was created and is maintained by technology start-up Qumranet, has quickly part of the kernel " Dan Kusnetzky quote.

 http://www.qumranet.com/KVMForum2007.php

 

 

 

 

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If you read the following link, seems like KVM is technology which will become #1

http://www.computerworld.com.au/index.php/id;1053855166

Also according to Dan

"  Interesting side note

What’s interesting is that Xen, which has been aiming for Linux kernel inclusion for nearly two years has not become part of the Linux kernel. KVM, which was created and is maintained by technology start-up Qumranet, has quickly part of the kernel " Dan Kusnetzky quote. http://www.qumranet.com/KVMForum2007.php

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I want Citrix to supply me with a preinstalled, self-configuring, self-healing VM which I can shove on ESX and have it automatically join my existing Citrix farm with no hassle. Zeroconfig. Imagine the headcount I can slash if a vendor actually ships something fit for purpose!
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And your employer is asking of you to work for zero pay.
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After reading the above posts its funny to view the Qumranet / KVM site... a Xensource founder is in there... with capital from Sequoia (different company from the one folks are complaining about above?)

 Made me laugh anyway... I should get out more...

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I like the idea of them getting their own virtualization product.  It helps guarantee they continue implementing their virtualization initiative.

 But keep it in the Desktop Server licensing.  Keep it out of platinum.

The reason why?  Platinum is not feasible for the SMB market space, and that is where we are seeing the largest push for virtualization.  Places where they can't afford 5 servers, they can get 1 with the MS licensing model.  Same with workstations, instead of buying 10 boxes, get 1 big one.

And even our enterprise clients are balking at the large price of platinum, so adding features just to that shoots themselves in the foot.  If they could buy some of the product unbundled we could sell more of it.  1000 seats at 100 dollars each is better then 0 seats at 1000 dollars each.

 How about an article just on that?

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I don't want to sound overconfident or arrogant about it, but I think the track record for TS and CPS has been overwhelmingly positive over the past ten years--across all sizes of customers including small, medium, and large.  If you choose to see it differently, I'm not going to attempt to change your opinion.  My opinion is formed based on first-hand involvement in several succesful 10,000+ user CPS-based "virtual desktop" implementations, as well as Citrix's steady growth and high customer loyalty over the past 8 years.  Having other vendors like VMware start to evangelize "virtual desktops" in the past year has been quite positive for us, and has actually created more awareness of Citrix than we could otherwise generate by ourselves. On your specific comments on the four areas of weakness of hosted VM's, I read this more or less as corroboration of what I've said.  You've cited "cobbled together" approaches with all kinds of "asterisks" on hosted VM approaches that exist today--higher capex on servers and storage (and opex when you consider power and cooling), technologies that are "in development" or from unproven vendors in this space, and display protocols like Teradici and RGS that aren’t designed for hosted VM’s (only Blade PC's) and all but require gigabit network connectivity.  All of the things you've cited do have promise, but they aren't "ready for prime time" yet like TS and CPS are. In the end, we both seem to agree that both TS and hosted VM approaches have merit.  Where we disagree is where each approach is on the "hype cycle."   

Finally, I don't see Citrix in a predicament at all!  We see a massive opportunity with virtual desktops.  I'm highly motivated and proud to work for a vendor at the heart of this opportunity, delivering on this for our customers today and continually making our solutions better for the future.

Bill Carovano - Citrix

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Thanks for the dialogue Bill.  Obviously we're agreeing to disagree.  No one is disputing the relevance of TS and CPS.  Clearly it is a widely deployed technology.  The important word here is "widely" - not deeply.  It certainly has its merits and will continue to do so, and of course it is the most mature of all technologies.  "Virtual Desktops" in their true sense (i.e desktop OS) hold much more promise though.  It's interesting how Citrix now talks about "virtual desktops" in terms TS sessions or hosted TS desktops - that was not in the Citrix lingo a year ago.  Effectively Citrix is jumping on the bandwagon and saying "me too", trying to catch some of that virtualization "hype" as you call it.

- From a "cobbled up" perspective, I need only refer you to the DDI announcement Citrix made last year http://www.citrix.com/English/NE/news/news.asp?newsID=38807.  From a "desktop management" experience, there was a lot of "cobbling" in there.

- From a "maturity" or "ready for prime time" standpoint, wouldn't you say that when the real CDS comes out, it will be the most immature of all?  After all these "unproven" vendors as you refer to them have a two to three-year lead on Citrix.

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Did it ever come to your minds that there is a master plan behind this? No, not a Citrix master plan, but a joined Microsoft-Citrix master plan. What if Microsoft deliberately wants Citrix to buy XenSource, which may prevent Microsoft from legal issues regarding their potential market domination with virtualization products. What do you think VMware would do if Microsoft bought XenSource? They would probably try to prevent this by suing Microsoft. But if Citrix buys XenSource, there is nothing VMware can do.

But why should Citrix do what Microsoft wants them to do? Well, Microsoft and Citrix are so friendly to each other during the last years. Microsoft did not include new TS features into Windows Server 2003 R2, which gave Citrix more time to develop their own new product features. Citrix never supported Linux seriously, Citrix moves from their Java Console to an MMC snap-in; both is good for Microsoft. Not even the discussions around Softricity and Tarpon caused any serious trouble in the Microsoft-Citrix relationship. At this year's Citrix iForum Europe and Microsoft Tech-Ed US both vendors made sure how much they like each other (except if you listen to former Softricity folks). And from an economic point of view it works perfectly, Citrix was never more successful as today, strictly following the path that Microsoft proposes them to go. So to me, Citrix acquiring XenSource, would make a lot of sense -- independent of what Citrix really wants to do with XenSource. From a strategic standpoint it could be true that controlling a technology is more valuable than delivering the same technology as fast and as expensive as possible...

 Benny

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I think the next few weeks will prove how wrong you are.  And then I'll email you privately to remind you of that.
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http://citrix.com/English/NE/news/news.asp?newsID=680808
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How I like those anonymous comments! Which part of my statement was wrong? That Microsoft may have encouraged Citrix to acquire XenSource or that the Microsoft-Citrix relationship is exceptionally good or that Citrix is so successful (by not getting into Microsoft's way)?

I'm looking forward to receive your private email...

BTW: Take a look at this section of the Citrix press release:

Strong Alignment with Microsoft
The acquisition will also strengthen each company’s strong partnership with Microsoft and commitment to the Windows platform. As an independent company, XenSource has built a strategic relationship with Microsoft designed to ensure broad interoperability between XenSource products and the upcoming Microsoft Windows hypervisor, code named “Viridian”. This relationship complements and broadens the successful partnership between Citrix and Microsoft in the Windows application delivery, application networking and branch office infrastructure markets.

Benny

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Actually, I do have a clue but you seem to be stuck in the Presentation Server must do everything and anything phase.  A company must branch out which is what Citrix did by making key aquistions to deliver on their app delivery message (which they have been doing for years and finally got it right from a marketing standpoint).

 Ok, so lets look at it from your point of view since you think PS must do everything.  Do you not think the Ardence acquisition helps the core Presentation Server product?  If not, why don't you read Brian's telling synopsis of that in an earlier post and podcast?

You don't think the NetScaler or WANScaler acquisition helps the optimization of apps delivered in conjunction through Presentation Server?  Maybe you should read the SAP whitepaper that was released by SAP and Citrix on this subject.  Or the Microsoft one regarding Sharepoint?  Or, the IBM one regarding WebSphere and these products?

Presentation Server does hundreds of things and companies only take advantage of about 10 - 20% of those capabilities.  Very much like a user of Microsoft Office only takes advantage of 10 - 20% of everything that product offers.  By Citrix branching out and making key acquisitions (and yes, Sequoia was a bad one but you are not going to bat a 1000, 100% of the time) they have upgraded their line of solutions and now offer their customers a best of breed where customers can select what is best for their business.

It was time for Citrix to stop being a one trick pony and now they are not, by the key acquisitions and building solutions on their own.

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Benny, I really like you, but you're very gullible sometimes.

 

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Gabe, I'm eating crow right now and it doesn't taste good!  I stand corrected and bow to you and Brian!
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Stop fighting!

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